Cross sectional complex structure analysis is a key issue of thin film research: A case study on the preferential orientation crossover in TiN thin films

P. B. Barna, D. Biro, M. F. Hasaneen, L. Székely, M. Menyhárd, A. Sulyok, Z. E. Horváth, P. Pekker, I. Dódony, G. Radnóczi

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Published results of the multitudinous experiments studying the relationships between the properties and process parameters of sputter deposited TiN films indicate a very complex problem. The complexity manifests itself preferentially in the sporadic formation of the <100> and <111> preferred orientation (PO) and in the sequential formation (crossover) of the <100> and <111> PO in thicker films, even when the deposition parameters are maintained constant during the deposition. The first problem has been clarified by dedicated experiments as well as theoretical works. These revealed that the selection between the development of the <100> and <111> PO is related to the condition of the impinging species, i.e. whether they are neutral or ionized, molecular or atomic Ti and N species, to the degree of ionization, to the ratio of the impinging rates of these species and to their energy as well. Understanding the cross-over formation between the <100> and <111> PO remained, however, an open question so far. As the driving force for this process, the operation of the proposed overall energy minimisation effect, the interplay of the surface and interface and the inner stress energy during thickness growth of the film has been queried. In the present work authors point out that the complex structural and micro-chemical analysis of the cross-sectional specimens of TiN thin films with PO crossover could provide the fundamental information required to discover the possible phenomena governing the evolution of this particular structure and to reconstruct its pathway. That is demonstrated for the situation when the origin of the <100> to <111> PO crossover could be related to the contamination effect, caused by gas desorption at starting the deposition. In the discussed experiment the TiN film is doped by oxygen and the oxygen concentration changing from 18 to 11 at.% during the deposition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137478
JournalThin Solid Films
Publication statusPublished - Oct 31 2019



  • Complex structural characterization
  • Microchemistry
  • Oxygen impurity effect
  • Preferred orientation
  • Preferred orientation cross-over
  • Thin films
  • Titanium nitride

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry

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