Cubic Sc1-xAlxN solid solution thin films deposited by reactive magnetron sputter epitaxy onto ScN(111)

Carina Höglund, Javier Bareo, Jens Birch, Björn Alling, Zsolt Czigány, Lars Hultman

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33 Citations (Scopus)


Reactive magnetron sputter epitaxy was used to deposit thin solid films of Sc1-xAlxN (0≤x≤1) onto MgO(111) substrates with ScN(111) seed layers. Stoichiometric films were deposited from elemental Sc and Al targets at substrate temperatures of 600 °C. The films were analyzed by Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy, elastic recoil detection analysis, x-ray diffraction, and transmission electron microscopy. Results show that rocksalt structure (c) -Sc1-xAlxN solid solutions with AlN molar fractions up to ∼60% can be synthesized. For higher AlN contents, the system phase separates into c- and wurtzite structure (w)-Sc1-xAl xN domains. The w -domains are present in three different orientations relative to the seed layer, namely, Sc1-xAlxN (0001)∥ScN(111) with Sc1-xAlxN [1̄21̄0] ∥ScN [11̄0], Sc1-xAlxN(101̄1)∥ScN(111) with Sc1-xAlxN[1̄21̄0]∥ScN[11̄0], and Sc1-xAlxN(101̄1)∥ScN(113). The results are compared to first-principles density functional theory calculations for the mixing enthalpies of c-, w-, and zinc blende Sc0.50Al0.50N solid solutions, yielding metastability with respect to phase separation for all temperatures below the melting points of AlN and ScN.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113517
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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