Data and figures related to publication: Improved ambient stability of thermally annealed Zinc Nitride thin films
datasetposted on 11.03.2020, 13:52 by Aristotelis Trapalis, Ian Farrer, Kenneth Kennedy, Alistair Kean, Jonathan Sharman, Jon Heffernan
Zinc nitride films are known to readily oxidize in an ambient atmosphere, forming a ZnO/Zn(OH)2 medium. We report that post-growth thermal annealing significantly improves the stability of zinc nitride with a three-order magnitude increase in degradation time from a few days in un-annealed films to several years after annealing. A degradation study was performed on samples annealed under a flow of nitrogen at 200–400 °C, which showed that the stability of the films depends strongly on the annealing temperature. We propose a mechanism for this improvement, which involves a stabilization of the native oxide layer that forms on the surface of zinc nitride films after exposure to ambient conditions. The result holds significant promise for the use of zinc nitride in devices where operational stability is a critical factor in applications.
The study reported in this paper was funded by the EPSRC (Fund code EP/M507611/1) and Johson Matthey PLC. The financial support by these parties is highly appreciated.
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Figure 1: Transmittance spectra of (a) an as-deposited and (b) an annealed 700 nm Zn3N2 film for up to 18 weeks. (c) Scanning Electron Microscopy image of a partially oxidised Zn3N2 film.
Figure 2: (a) Refractive index, n, and (b) extinction coefficient, k, of the Zn3n2 layer obtained by spectroscopic ellipsometry for different annealing temperatures.
Figure 3: Thickness of (a) the Zn3N2 layer and (b) oxide layers over several months for annealed samples. (c) Lifetime of the Zn3N2 layer as a function of annealing temperature. The data points marked with * were extrapolated based on the oxidation rates measured in this study.
Figure 4: X-ray diffraction scans of the (400) peak for Zn3N2 samples annealed at different temperatures. The dashed line shows the expected position of the (400) peak based on crystallographic data.
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