Effects of Thickness on the Electrical Conductivity of Sputtered YSZ Film with Nanocrystalline Columnar Microstructure
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In order to investigate the effect of the thickness on the electrical conductivity of yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) film, the nanocrystalline columnar-structured YSZ film with thickness of 0.67-2.52 μm was prepared by magnetron sputtering through controlling the deposition time. All the sputtered films with different thicknesses consist of the main phase of cubic YSZ as well as a small amount of monoclinic YSZ. The thicker films exhibit a typical columnar grain structure based on the fractured cross-sectional SEM observations. The average diameters of columnar grains increase from about 40 nm to 100 nm with the film thickness from 0.67 μm to 2.52 μm according to TEM analysis. The thinnest YSZ film with 0.67 μm thickness shows the highest apparent electrical conductivity in the four films in 400–800 °C due to the contribution from the highly conductive film/substrate interfacial region. On the other hand, the real electrical conductivities of YSZ films increase with film thickness from 0.67 μm to 2.52 μm after eliminating the contribution of the film/substrate interface. The increasing film thickness leads to the grain growth as well as the decrement in the volumetric fraction of the resistive columnar grain boundary and a consequent higher real electrical conductivity.
Key wordsYSZ film columnar microstructure magnetron sputtering interface effect space charge effect
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