Abstract

Tantalum pentoxide (Ta2O5) thin films have been deposited on fused silica substrates using a novel asymmetric bipolar DC magnetron sputtering technique under a mixed ambient of oxygen and argon. Films have been prepared at different oxygen-to-argon ratios, and the sputtering ambient and optical properties of the films have been investigated by spectroscopic ellipsometry, while the structural analysis of the films has been carried out by grazing incidence x-ray diffraction and extended x-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) measurements. The concentration of oxygen and tantalum in the Ta2O5 films has been estimated by Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS). The variation of the optical constants of the films with changes in deposition parameters has been explained in the light of the change in average Ta–O bond lengths and oxygen coordination around Ta sites as obtained from EXAFS measurements. The trend in variation of the oxygen-to-tantalum ratio in the films obtained from RBS measurement, as a function of oxygen partial pressure used during sputtering, is found to follow the trend in variation of the oxygen coordination number around Ta sites obtained from EXAFS measurement.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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