AuthorTARGOVE, JAMES DONALD.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe columnar microstructure of most thermally evaporated thin films detrimentally affects many of their properties through a reduction in packing density. In this work, we have investigated ion-assisted deposition as a means of disrupting this columnar growth for a number of coating materials. A Kaufman hot-cathode ion source bombarded thermally evaporated films with low-energy (< 1000 eV) positive ions during deposition in a cryopumped box coater. We have investigated MgF₂, Na₃AIF₆, AIF₃, LaF₃, CeF₃, NdF₃, Al₂O₃, and AIN. Argon ion bombardment of the fluoride coatings increased their packing densities dramatically. We achieved packing densities near unity without significant absorption for MgF₂, LaF₃, and NdF₃, while Na₃AIF₆, AIF₃, and CeF₃ began to absorb before unity packing density could be achieved. Fluorine was preferentially sputtered by the ion bombardment, creating anion vacancies. The films adsorbed water vapor and hydroxyl radicals from the residual chamber atmosphere. These filled the vacancy sites, eliminating absorption in the visible, but the oxygen complexes caused increased absorption in the ultraviolet. For LaF₃ and NdF₃, a sufficient amount of oxygen caused a phase transformation from the fluoride phase to an oxyfluoride phase. The refractive indices of Al₂O₃ films increased with ion bombardment. Values as high as 1.70 at 350 nm were achieved with bombardment by 500 eV oxygen ions. Since all of the Al₂O₃ films had packing densities near unity and were amorphous, we postulate that the increase in refractive index was due to a change in amorphous networking. Aluminum nitride was deposited by bombarding thermally evaporated aluminum with nitrogen ions. Films with N:Al ratios of 0.5-1.5 could be deposited by varying the deposition conditions. Films with low absorption for wavelengths longer than 1 μm could be deposited. Annealing the films at 500°C eliminated absorption at wavelengths longer than 500 nm.
Degree ProgramOptical Sciences