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A simple single‐source electron‐beam evaporation technique has been used for the deposition of lead‐lanthanum‐zirconate‐titanate (PLZT) thin films for silicon‐based device applications. An optimized annealing condition has been established for the formation of crystalline perovskite phases. The effect of the bottom electrodes and the barrier layer on the growth of the films has been studied. Films with good dielectric and optical properties have been obtained under opt‐ imized conditions. Electrical properties of the films have been evaluated using metal–insulator–semiconductor and metal–insulator–metal structures. A moderately low interface trap density and very low leakage current density demonstrate the potential of the deposited films for device applications. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.