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Cubic Sc1-xAlxN solid solution thin films deposited by reactive magnetron sputter epitaxy onto ScN(111)

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6 Author(s)
Hoglund, Carina ; Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM), Thin Film Physics Division, Linköping University, S-581 83 Linköping, Sweden ; Bareno, Javier ; Birch, Jens ; Alling, Bjorn
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Reactive magnetron sputter epitaxy was used to deposit thin solid films of Sc1-xAlxN (0≤x≤1) onto MgO(111) substrates with ScN(111) seed layers. Stoichiometric films were deposited from elemental Sc and Al targets at substrate temperatures of 600 °C. The films were analyzed by Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy, elastic recoil detection analysis, x-ray diffraction, and transmission electron microscopy. Results show that rocksalt structure (c)-Sc1-xAlxN solid solutions with AlN molar fractions up to ∼60% can be synthesized. For higher AlN contents, the system phase separates into c- and wurtzite structure (w)-Sc1-xAlxN domains. The w-domains are present in three different orientations relative to the seed layer, namely, Sc1-xAlxN(0001)||ScN(111) with Sc1-xAlxN[1210]||ScN[110], Sc1-xAlxN(1011)||ScN(111) with Sc1-xAlxN[1210]||ScN[110], and Sc1-xAlxN(1011)∥ScN(113). The re- sults are compared to first-principles density functional theory calculations for the mixing enthalpies of c-, w-, and zinc blende Sc0.50Al0.50N solid solutions, yielding metastability with respect to phase separation for all temperatures below the melting points of AlN and ScN.

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Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:105 ,  Issue: 11 )