Abstract

Several oxides of vanadium undergo a transition from a semiconductor or insulating state to a metal phase at a critical temperature. Vanadium dioxide undergoes this transition near 68°C, while V2O5 undergoes a similar phase transition near 257°C. During the transition a change in oxide crystal structure is accompanied by large changes in electrical and optical behavior. Thin films of vanadium oxides are capable of reversibly switching from the semiconductor to the metallic state at high speeds and with high spatial resolution. Therefore, these oxides have potential use, particularly in thin film form, for a wide variety of applications involving thermally activated electronic or optical switching devices. Such films are of considerable technical interest because of applications in chemical sensors, energy-conserving coatings, transparent conductors, and switching materials. The numerous potential electronic, optical, and optoelectronic device applications which have been suggested have stimulated work on the preparation of thin films by a variety of techniques, including chemical vapor deposition, solgel, evaporation, and sputter deposition. This paper reviews the optical properties of vanadium oxide coatings and stresses the dependence of film properties on sample preparation and resultant film microstructure.

© 1991 Optical Society of America

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