This Letter reports on nanomechanical and optical properties of yttrium thin films deposited on an Si (100) wafer. Elemental depth profiling by a secondary ion mass spectrometer revealed absence of formation of yttrium hydride, both on the surface and beneath. The optical properties were investigated by spectroscopic ellipsometry, and the refractive indices extracted after suitable modeling were found to be 2.51 at 546 nm. Hardness and elastic modulus of these films were found to be 7 and 142 GPa, respectively. These studies indicate that yttrium thin films are suitable for x-ray mirrors, photocathode emitters in e-beam lithography, electron microscopes, and free-electron lasers.
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