Ag y :TiN x thin films for dry biopotential electrodes: the effect of composition and structural changes on the electrical and mechanical behaviours
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In the present work, Ag y :TiN x thin films, obtained by reactive DC magnetron sputtering, with decreasing [N]/[Ti] atomic ratios (from 1 to 0.1) and a fixed amount of Ag pellets placed in the erosion zone of a pure Ti target, were studied envisaging their application as biopotential electrodes. The strongly under-stoichiometric samples, [N]/[Ti] = 0.1 and 10 at.% Ag; [N]/[Ti] = 0.2 and 8 at.% Ag, were found to be composed of a N-doped hcp-Ti structure, with possible formation of TiAg or Ti2Ag intermetallics. These samples exhibit high electrical resistivity values and low hardness and reduced modulus. In the set of samples indexed to a transition zone, [N]/[Ti] = 0.3 and 15 at.% Ag; [N]/[Ti] = 0.7 and 32 at.% Ag, a hcp-Ti to fcc-TiN phase transformation took place, giving rise to a disaggregated N-deficient TiN matrix. It correlates with the high resistivity values as well as the higher hardness and reduced modulus values that were obtained. The last identified zone comprised the stoichiometric Ag:TiN x sample—[N]/[Ti] = 1 and 20 at.% Ag. Extensive metallic Ag segregation was detected, contributing to a significant decrease of the resistivity and hardness values.
KeywordsAtomic Ratio Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometry Flexible Polymeric Substrate Poisoning Phenomenon
This research is partially sponsored by FEDER funds through the program COMPETE—Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade and by national funds through FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, under the projects PEst-C/EME/UI0285/2011, PTDC/SAU-ENB/116850/2010, PTDC/CTM-NAN/112574/2009 and Programa Pessoa 2012/2013 Cooperação Portugal/França, Project No. 27306 UA “Porous architectures in GRAded CERamic thin films for biosensors”—GRACER. The authors would also like to acknowledge CEMUP for SEM analysis. P. Pedrosa acknowledges FCT for the Ph.D. Grant SFRH/BD/70035/2010. J. Borges acknowledges the support by the European social fund within the framework of the project “Support of inter-sectoral mobility and quality enhancement of research teams at Czech Technical University in Prague”, CZ.1.07/2.3.00/30.0034.
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