Abstract

Ion-beam sputter deposition of tantalum oxide films was investigated for possible optical coating applications. Optical properties of such films were found to be a sensitive function of oxygen-to-argon ratio in the ion beam. Refractive index and absorption coefficient were determined in the 250–2000-nm wavelength range by spectrophotometric transmissivity. The different bonding states of the tantalum atoms were revealed by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The visible wavelength refractive index was found to be 2.18 and optical band gap 4.3 eV, so long as the films did not contain inclusions of metallic tantalum. Films with an admixture of oxygen deficient suboxide components had a low-energy tail of increasing magnitude in the absorption spectrum.

© 1985 Optical Society of America

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