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Growth and characterisation of Al <sub>1-x</sub>Cr <sub>x</sub>N thin films by RF plasma assisted pulsed laser deposition

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Thin films of AlN, CrN and Al 1-xCr xN were grown epitaxially on c-cut sapphire by radio frequency (RF) plasma assisted pulsed laser deposition (PLD). The PLD growth mode employed for these Al 1-xCr xN films was by delta doping layers of CrN 0.05-0.10 nm thick between layers of AlN of approximately 3.6 nm thick giving an estimated 1.3% and 2.5% Cr doping. The substrate temperature, nitrogen pressure and power parameters of the RF plasma were varied to optimize crystalline growth. X-ray diffraction (XRD) confirmed hexagonal wurtzite thin film growth of highly crystalline AlN and highly crystalline cubic CrN. The electronic structure of these thin films was examined by x-ray absorption (XAS) and soft x-ray emission spectroscopy (XES) at the N K edge. These measurements are compared with the results of density functional calculations for wurtzite-AlN, cubic-CrN and wurtzite-Al 1-xCr xN.

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