Formation of Metal Oxides by Cathodic Arc Deposition
Metal oxide thin films are of interest for a number of applications. Cathodic arc deposition, which is an established and industrially applied technique for the formation of nitrides (e.g. TIN), can also be used for metal oxide thin film formation. A cathodic arc plasma source with the desired cathode material is operated in an oxygen atmosphere of appropriate pressure, and metal oxides of various stoichiometric composition can be formed on different substrates. We report here on a series of experiments on metal oxide formation by cathodic arc deposition for different applications. Black copper oxide has been deposited on accelerator components to increase the radiative heat transfer between the parts. Various metal oxides such as tungsten oxide, niobium oxide, nickel oxide and vanadium oxide have been deposited on ITO glass to form electrochromic films for window applications. Tantalum oxide films are of interest for replacing polymer electrolytes. Optical waveguide structures can be formed by refractive index variation using oxide multilayers. We have synthesized multilayers of Al2O3/Y2O3/Al2O3/Si as possible basic structures for passive optoelectronic integrated circuits, and Al2-xErxO3 thin films with a variable Er concentration which is a potential component layer for the production of active optoelectronic integrated devices such as amplifiers or lasers at a wavelength of 1.53 pm. Aluminum and chromium oxide films have been deposited on a number of substrates to impart improved corrosion resistance at high temperature. Titanium sub-oxides which are electrically conductive and corrosion resistant and stable in a number of aggressive environments have been deposited on various substrates. These sub-oxides are of great interest for use in electrochemical cells. Common features of all these depositions are the high deposition rate typical for cathodic arc deposition, the good adhesion of the films due to the high metal ion energy, and the advantage of an environmentally clean method in comparison to wet-chemical oxide formation techniques.