Abstract

Germanium: silver (Ge:Ag) composite thin films having different concentrations of Ag, ranging from 7% to 40%, have been prepared by dc cosputtering of Ge and Ag. The films' surface morphology and optical properties have been characterized using transmission electron microscopy and infrared spectrophotometry. It is seen that, although the films that contain lower concentrations of Ag have islandlike morphology (i.e., Ag particles distributed in a Ge matrix), the higher metallic concentration films tend to have a symmetric distribution of Ag and Ge. The optical constants (i.e., refractive index n and absorption index k) derived from the measured optical properties show a semiconductor behavior even as high as 40% of Ag concentration, beyond which the metallic properties dominate over the entire infrared spectrum. Comparison of the n and k data with the two well-known effective medium theories, namely, the Maxwell-Garnett theory and the Bruggeman theory, shows that both theories have limited scope in predicting the optical properties of semiconductor–metal composite films in the infrared region. However, an empirical polynomial equation can simulate the experimental data at all wave numbers of the IR spectrum.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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