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Influence of Momentary Annealing on the Nanoscale Surface Morphology of Room Temperature Pulsed Laser Deposited NiO(111) Epitaxial Thin Films on Atomically Stepped Sapphire (0001) Substrates

  • Ryosuke Yamauchi (a1), Geng Tan (a1), Daishi Shiojiri (a1), Nobuo Tsuchimine (a2), Koji Koyama (a3), Satoru Kaneko (a1) (a4), Akifumi Matsuda (a1) and Mamoru Yoshimoto (a1)...

We examined the influence of momentary annealing on the nanoscale surface morphology of NiO(111) epitaxial thin films deposited on atomically stepped sapphire (0001) substrates at room temperature in O2 at 1.3 × 10−3 and 1.3 × 10−6 Pa using a pulsed laser deposition (PLD) technique. The NiO films have atomically flat surfaces (RMS roughness: approximately 0.1–0.2 nm) reflecting the step-and-terrace structures of the substrates, regardless of the O2 deposition pressure. After rapid thermal annealing (RTA) of the NiO(111) epitaxial film deposited at 1.3 × 10−3 Pa O2, a periodic straight nanogroove array related to the atomic steps of the substrate was formed on the film surface for 60 s. In contrast, the fabrication of a transient state in the nanogroove array formation was achieved with RTA of less than 1 s. However, when the O2 atmosphere during PLD was 1.3 × 10−6 Pa, random crystal growth was observed and resulted in a disordered rough surface nanostructure after RTA.

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