Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Microstructural instability in single-crystal thin films

  • A. Seifert (a1), A Vojta (a1), J. S. Speck (a1) and F. F. Lange (a1)

Epitaxial PbTiO3 thin films were produced from a mixed Pb–Ti double-alkoxide precursor by spin-coating onto single crystal (001) SrTiO3 substrates. Heat treatment at 800 °C produces a dense and continuous, epitaxial lead titanate film through an intermediate Pb-Ti fluorite structure. A microstructural instability occurred when very thin single crystal films were fabricated; this instability caused the films to become discontinuous. Scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy observations show that single crystal films with a thickness less than ∼80 nm developed holes that expose the substrate; thinner films broke up into isolated, single crystal islands. The walls of the holes were found to be (111) perovskite planes. A free energy function, which considered the anisotropic surface energies of different planes, was developed to describe the microstructural changes in the film and to understand the instability phenomenon. The function predicted that pre-existing holes greater than a critical size are necessary to initiate hole growth, and it predicted the observed morphological changes in the current system. Morphological stability diagrams that explain the stability fields for different film configurations, i.e., either completely covered, with holes, or single crystal islands, can be calculated for any film/substrate system.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

1. M. L. Gimpl , A. D. McMaster , and N. Fuschillo , Appl. Phys. 35 (12), 3572 (1964).

3. R. E. Hummel , R.T. De Hoff , S. Matts-Goho , and W.M. Goho , Thin Solid Films 78 (1), 1 (1981).

4. L. Bachmann , D. L. Sawyer , and B. M. Siegel , J. Appl. Phys. 36 (1), 304 (1966).

5. V. A. Mazur and M. G. Goldiner , Phys. Lett. A 137 (5), 69 (1989).

6. E. Jiran and C. V. Thompson , Thin Solid Films 208 (1), 23 (1992).

7. N. L. Wu and J. Phillips J. Appl. Phys. 59 (3), 3572 (1986).

9. D. J. Srolovitz and S. A. Safran , J. Appl. Phys. 60 (1), 255 (1986).

13. C. Herring , Phys. Rev. 82 (4), 87 (1951).

14. W. W. Mullins , J. Appl. Phys. 30 (1), 77 (1959).

16. W. L. Winterbottom , Acta Metall. 15 (2), 303 (1967).

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Materials Research
  • ISSN: 0884-2914
  • EISSN: 2044-5326
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-materials-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 18 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 57 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.