Photoinduced formation of thin-film structures in titanium alkoxides via direct deposition from solution and from spin-coated solid-state precursor films


The photoinduced formation of thin film structures from a Ti-alkoxide precursor (OPy)2Ti(TAP)2, where OPy = OC6H6N, TAP = OC6H2[CH2N(CH3)2]3-2,4,6, was demonstrated via direct deposition from a pyridine-based solution and by optical illumination of a solid-state spin-coated thin film of the compound. Photopatterned physical relief structures were produced using both of these deposition methods and feature sizes as small as ∼1 μm were readily achieved. Surface investigations of the material’s nanostructure revealed that films photo-deposited from solution exhibited nanometer-scale surface roughness with evenly distributed surface porosity (∼10 nm sized pores) while films produced through the illumination of spin-coated thin films exhibited, in comparison, a reduction in surface roughness. Vibrational spectra were compared with the results of quantum chemical computations (density-functional theory) of potential photoproducts in an attempt to identify and distinguish the dominant structural groups resulting from the optical processing of each precursor form (i.e., solution versus solid-state). It was determined that ultraviolet irradiation for both thin-film formation techniques resulted in a disruption of the ligand groups, facilitating the initiation of hydrolysis and condensation reactions in the films.

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This research was supported by the United States Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Partial support was also provided by the University of Arizona, State of Arizona, TRIF Optics Initiative program and by Sandia National Laboratories. Sandia is a multi-program laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company for the United States Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000.

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Schneider, Z., Musgraves, J., Simmons-Potter, K. et al. Photoinduced formation of thin-film structures in titanium alkoxides via direct deposition from solution and from spin-coated solid-state precursor films. Journal of Materials Research 26, 754–762 (2011).

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