Non-uniform Composition Profiles in Inorganic Thin Films from Aqueous Solutions

Kurtis C. Fairley, Devin R. Merrill, Keenan N. Woods, Jeffrey Ditto, Can Xu, Richard P. Oleksak, Torgny Gustafsson, Darren W. Johnson, Eric L. Garfunkel, Gregory S. Herman, David C. Johnson, Catherine J. Page

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


A variety of metal oxide films (InGaOx, AlOx, "HafSOx") prepared from aqueous solutions were found to have non-uniform electron density profiles using X-ray reflectivity. The inhomogeneity in HafSOx films (Hf(OH)4-2x-2y(O2)x(SO4)y·zH2O), which are currently under investigation as inorganic resists, were studied in more detail by high-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM) and medium-energy ion scattering (MEIS). The HAADF-STEM images show a greater concentration of heavy atoms near the surface of a single-layer film. MEIS data confirm the aggregation of Hf at the film surface. The denser "crust" layer in HafSOx films may directly impact patterning resolution. More generally, the phenomenon of surface-layer inhomogeneity in solution-deposited films likely influences film properties and may have consequences in other thin-film systems under investigation as resists, dielectrics, and thin-film transistor components.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-672
Number of pages6
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 13 2016


  • HafSOx
  • MEIS
  • XRR
  • aqueous solution
  • crust
  • inhomogeneity
  • metal oxide thin film

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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