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Transparent conductive Nb-doped TiO2films deposited by reactive dc sputtering using Ti–Nb alloy target, precisely controlled in the transition region using impedance feedback system

Applied Surface Science
DOI: 10.1016/j.apsusc.2014.02.126
  • Tio2-Based Transparent Conductive Oxide
  • Thin Films
  • Reactive Sputtering
  • Ti–Nb Alloy Target
  • Orientation


Abstract In this study, a stable reactive sputtering process using a Ti–Nb alloy target was achieved by applying a plasma impedance feedback system. High-quality transparent conductive Nb-doped TiO2 (Nb:TiO2) films were fabricated with high reproducibility. The films were deposited on unheated substrate and subsequently annealed at 873K under vacuum conditions (below 6.0×10−4Pa) for 1h. During reactive sputtering, the feedback system precisely controlled the oxidation of the target surface in the so-called transition region. The post-annealing process yielded polycrystalline Nb:TiO2 films whose lattice defects decreased with increasing Nb concentration. An extremely low resistivity (7.2×10−4Ωcm) was achieved for Nb:TiO2 film with 60–70% transmittance in the visible region. The reactive sputtering using Ti–Nb alloys is considered to be a strong candidate for industrial-scale thin-film deposition. Furthermore, it can also control the metal-oxygen stoichiometry of Nb:TiO2 films precisely to achieve desirable properties for each industrial application.

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