, Volume 48, Issue 9, pp 3386-3394
Date: 08 Jan 2013

Copper and iron based thin film nanocomposites prepared by radio frequency sputtering. Part I: elaboration and characterization of metal/oxide thin film nanocomposites using controlled in situ reduction process

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Copper and iron based thin films were prepared on glass substrate by radio-frequency sputtering technique from a delafossite CuFeO2 target. After deposition, the structure and microstructure of the films were examined using grazing incidence X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, electron probe micro-analysis and transmission electron microscopy coupled with EDS mapping. Target to substrate distance and sputtering gas pressure were varied to obtain films having different amount and distribution of copper nanoparticles and different composition of oxide matrix. The overall reaction process, which starts from CuFeO2 target and ends with the formation of films having different proportion of copper, copper oxide and iron oxide, was described by a combination of balanced chemical reactions. A direct relationship between the composition of the metal/oxide nanocomposite thin film and the sputtering parameters was established. This empirical relationship can further be used to control the composition of the metal/oxide nanocomposite thin films, i.e. the in situ reduction of copper ions in the target.