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Optical Materials Express

Optical Materials Express

  • Editor: David J. Hagan
  • Vol. 1, Iss. 6 — Oct. 1, 2011
  • pp: 1100–1112
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Colored semi-transparent Cu-Si oxide thin films prepared by magnetron sputtering

J. Gil-Rosta, F. Yubero, R. Fernández, T. Vilajoana, P. Artús, J. C. Dürsteler, J. Cotrino, I. Ortega, and A. R. González-Elipe  »View Author Affiliations


Optical Materials Express, Vol. 1, Issue 6, pp. 1100-1112 (2011)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OME.1.001100


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Abstract

Colored semi-transparent Cu-Si oxide thin films have been prepared by reactive magnetron sputtering from a single cathode of copper-silicon composition. Thin films of different composition and optical response were obtained by changing process parameters like the relative amount of copper in the target and the O2/Ar mixture of the reactive plasma gas. The film characteristics were analyzed by several techniques. Their optical properties (refractive index, absorption coefficient, color) have been correlated with the process parameters used in the film preparation as well as with the film stoichiometry and chemistry.

© 2011 OSA

1. Introduction

However, control of the optical performance (refractive index, absorption, color) in thin films of reduced thickness faces important problems related with the adjustment of the concentration of the coloring cation and the tuning of their chemistry, particularly if the deposition process occurs at low temperature and no post-deposition treatment is feasible because of the thermal stability of the substrate. For example, this is the case for ophthalmic and other optical applications based on polymeric lenses. In this regard, it is particularly convenient that the colored cation to be incorporated is fully compatible with SiO2 or other transparent oxides used as standard low index materials in antireflective or dielectric mirror coatings or as antiscratching coatings.

In this paper, we report on semi-transparent coatings based on mixed Cu-Si oxide thin films prepared by reactive magnetron sputtering, where copper is the coloring cation and silicon, in 4 + oxidation state, defines the host transparent matrix. The incorporation of copper in silicate glasses is a well known procedure to color them. For example, the characteristic ruby color is achieved by incorporation of metallic Cu colloidal particles in transparent silica or sodium silicate matrix [9

9. H. L. Smith and A. J. Cohen, “Absorption spectra of cations in alkali-silicate glasses of ultra-violet transmission,” Phys. Chem. Glasses 4, 173–187 (1963).

,10

10. I. Nakai, C. Numako, H. Hosono, and K. Yamasaki, “Origin of the red color of satsuma copper-ruby glass as determined by EXAFS and optical absorption spectroscopy,” J. Am. Ceram. Soc. 82(3), 689–695 (1999). [CrossRef]

]. It is also well known that glasses with reddish color can be obtained by the incorporation of Cu2+ ions and CuO clusters in these transparent matrices [3

3. C. Córdoba, R. Arroyo, J. L. G. Fierro, and M. Viniegra, “Study of xerogel–glass transition of CuO/SiO2,” J. Solid State Chem. 123(1), 93–99 (1996). [CrossRef]

,4

4. M. G. Ferreira da Silva and J. M. Fernandez-Navarro, “Colour of silicate sol-gel glasses containing CuO,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 100(1-3), 447–452 (1988). [CrossRef]

,9

9. H. L. Smith and A. J. Cohen, “Absorption spectra of cations in alkali-silicate glasses of ultra-violet transmission,” Phys. Chem. Glasses 4, 173–187 (1963).

,12

12. C. R. Bamford, “The application of the ligand field theory to coloured glasses,” Phys. Chem. Glasses 3, 189–202 (1962).

]. Thus, a crucial important point for the characterization of the prepared Cu-Si oxide thin films has been to distinguish whether the constituent oxides form a randomly distributed mixed phase (solid solution of the oxide phases) or segregate into separated phases, and to which extent the local electronic structure around the two cations is dependent on mixing. Another important issue from a technological point of view is the in situ control of the deposition process. In this respect, we have characterized the plasma discharge used in the deposition process by Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES). Special effort has been devoted to correlate the characteristics of the process plasma with the final properties of the films. Finally, information about the local electronic structure of the films has been also gained by means of X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopies.

2. Experimental

2.1 Sample preparation

Mixed Cu-Si oxide thin films were prepared by reactive magnetron sputtering. Silicon targets of 2 inches diameter were used as the source of silicon. Copper was supplied by Cu strips (0.25 mm thickness, 1.4 mm wide from Goodfellow) wrapped to the Si target along its diameter. Samples were prepared with 1, 2, 3 and 5 strips. As evidenced by the erosion track formed in the target, sputtering mainly occurred in a circumference of ~20 mm of radius (i.e., ~125 mm circumference length). The area ratio of the sputtered copper strips was about 3, 6, 9, and 15% of the total target area for the experimental situations used for the preparation of the films. At industrial scale this approach could be substituted by one in which targets of Si-Cu alloys or mixtures are used to assure automatic reproducibility of results. Samples with different optical performances were also prepared by varying the O2/Ar ratio in the process gas mixture. The O2/Ar gas mixture was set with mass flow controllers. The oxygen mass flow ΦO2 was varied between 4 to 25 sccm, while the argon mass flow ΦAr was varied between 40 and 10 sccm. Thus, the mass flow ratio ΦO2Ar was varied between 0.1 and 2.5. The base pressure in the deposition chamber was 2x10−6 mbar and the working pressure was set constant to 5x10−3 mbar. The magnetron head (GENCOA, 5 cm diameter targets) was powered with a pulsed DC source (MPS15 from Milko Angelov Consulting Ltd). A pulse frequency of 80 kHz and a duty cycle of 40% were used, with applied powers ranging between 100 and 300 W. The sample holder was polarized with −100 V. The target-sample distance was also varied between 50 to 100 mm. In these conditions, the sample temperature during film growth was always below 373 K.

The reactive plasmas used for deposition of the thin films were characterized by Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES). The emission spectrum was analyzed using a 0.5 m CVI Digikrom DK480 monochromator (CVI Laser Corporation, Albuquerque, NM), with two 1200 grooves/mm gratings, 200/600 blaze. Wavelength selective filters may be used to eliminate the unwanted radiation. In the experiments, the spectral resolution was of 0.2 nm, and spectral sensitivity ranging from 200 to 900 nm (Hamamatsu R928 phototube). The light was collected by an optical fiber which was fixed to the monochromator and positioned near the middle plane between the anode and the cathode using a vacuum feedthrough with a collimating lens in the plasma chamber.

2.2 Thin film characterization

Thin film microstructure was analyzed with a Hitachi S4800 field emission scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Cross sectional and planar views of thin films prepared on Si(100) wafers were taken to characterize the microstructure and to assess the film thicknesses.

Elemental depth profiling was performed by means of Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometry (RBS) at the 3 MeV tandem ion accelerator of the Centro Nacional de Aceleradores of Seville. The RBS spectra were analyzed with the SRIM software [13

13. J. F. Ziegler, J. P. Biersack, and U. Littmark, The Stopping and Range of Ions in Solids (Pergamon, 1985), Vol. I.

].

Chemical characterization by X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) was carried out with a PHOIBOS 5MCD electron analyzer using unmonocromatised Al-Kα radiation. Prior to the XPS characterization a mild O2+ (1 keV, sample current 1 μA /cm2, 20 min) sputtering was performed to all the samples to remove the adventitious carbon contamination.

Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) in transmission mode was performed in a Nicolet 510 apparatus for thin films prepared on polished undoped Si(100) wafers to identify the type of bonding and local structural arrangement around each metal cation.

Optical characterization of the films was performed by transmission and reflection UV-VIS in a Perkin-Elmer Lambda 12 spectrometer. Refractive index and extinction coefficient were obtained by least squared fit of the simulation of the transmitted and reflected spectra. Color coordinates were evaluated according to standard theory [14

14. J. Schanda, Colorimetry: Understanding of the CIE System (John Wiley and Sons, 2007).

].

3. Results

3.1 Analysis of the deposition process

OES analysis of the magnetron plasma discharge has been carried out in situ, during thin film growth, as a function of process parameters. As a general behavior, all emitted lines increase in intensity when the magnetron power is increased. More interesting is the performance for a fixed power. Figure 1
Fig. 1 OES spectra corresponding to several ΦO2Ar ratios of the process plasma discharge, as indicated. Bands are assigned to different species according to [15]. Inset: Intensity ratios of the strongest Cu (I324 + I327) and Ar (I416 + I420) emission lines in the plasma discharge as a function of the gas flow ratio ΦO2Ar corresponding to a Si target with 3 Cu strips, 100 W applied power and 5x10−3 mbar total pressure in the reaction chamber.
shows a series of OES spectra, recorded in the 315-425 nm range, using a series of standard conditions (fixed magnetron power to 100 W, total pressure to 5x10−3 mbar, target-sample distance of 10 cm, and 3 Cu strips in the target and several ΦO2Ar ratios) during the deposition processes. The strongest lines in these spectra can be easily ascribed to Cu-I (I324, I327) and Ar-I (I416, I420) emissions [15

15. F. Liu, C. S. Ren, Y. N. Wang, X. L. Qi, and T. C. Ma, “The optical emission spectroscopy study of an rf-plasma-enhanced magnetron sputtering system,” Vacuum 81(3), 221–225 (2006). [CrossRef]

]. We observe that these emission lines increase in intensity as the amount of Ar in the plasma discharge increases (for fixed power and pressure). The inset in Fig. 1 shows the intensity ratio between these Cu and Ar lines. When ΦO2Ar ≥ 1 the ratio between the Cu and Ar emissions ICu/IAr (ICu = I324 + I327; IAr = I416 + I420) remains constant. However, it increases up to a factor 2 for ΦO2Ar = 0.1.

Regarding the deposition rate dr, it is found that it diminishes when the sample-target distance increases (5-10 cm range), and increases with the power supplied to the magnetron (100-300 W) and number of Cu strips in the target. For example, for 100 W power, a sample target distance of 10 cm, and ΦO2Ar = 1.0, dr increases from 3.2 nm/min for no Cu strip (deposition of pure SiO2) to 5.2 nm/min for 5 strips. It also varies with the mass flow ratio ΦO2Ar used during the deposition process. Thus, for 100 W, 10 cm sample-target distance and 3 Cu strips, it increases from 3.8 nm/min to 9.8 nm/min when ΦO2Ar decreases from 2.5 to 0.1. Table 1

Table 1. Survey of Experimental Conditions and Properties Obtained for Mixed Si-Cu Oxides Prepared by Reactive Magnetron Sputtering

table-icon
View This Table
collects a survey of preparation conditions and the corresponding deposition rates.

3.2 Elemental composition and depth analysis

The in-depth composition of the films was studied by RBS. Figure 2
Fig. 2 Experimental and fitted RBS spectra of two selected mixed Cu-Si oxide thin films. The spectra demonstrate a homogenous in-depth distribution of Cu and Si atoms.
shows typical RBS in-depth composition spectra and their fitting with the SRIM software. The analysis demonstrates that, in all cases, copper distributes homogeneously in depth and that the copper content varies depending on the deposition conditions. Besides, no significant surface segregation of any of the two constituent cation is observed. Table 1 summarizes the relative stoichiometry xCu (xCu = [Cu]/([Si] + [Cu]), obtained for several preparation conditions. The reported values show that the Cu content in the films is clearly dependent on the number of Cu strips wrapped to the Si target, varying between 0.16, 0.39, and 0.68 when using 1, 3 and 5 Cu strips wrapped to the Si cathode, respectively. On the other hand, xCu is not significantly affected by ΦO2Ar.

The surface composition of the samples was also analyzed by standard XPS. General XPS spectra showed that all the films prepared were composed of O, Si and Cu and very low amount of C atoms (below 2 atomic percent), probably due to adventitious carbon. Regarding the relative xCu values defined above, both XPS and RBS techniques agreed in the quantification within 5 atomic %, thus confirming that no surface segregation of any of the constituents was present.

3.3 Microstructure and bonding structure of the films

Figure 3
Fig. 3 SEM cross section micrograph of a typical Cu-Si oxide thin film.
shows typical SEM cross section images obtained for the Si-Cu oxide films. They appear flat and featureless, without any defined grain structure. The structure of the films was also assessed by means of standard Bragg-Brentano X-ray diffraction analysis. No diffraction reflections were detected, confirming the amorphous character of the structure of the films.Information about the bonding environment around Si and Cu atoms was obtained by FT-IR analysis. Figure 4
Fig. 4 FT-IR spectra of a series of Cu-Si oxide thin films with increasing number of Cu strips in the Si cathode and prepared with 3 strips and increasing values of ΦO2Ar for the process gas.
shows a series of FT-IR spectra of selected samples. We observe that the stretching mode corresponding to Si-O-Si vibration, that appears at about 1065 cm−1 for pure SiO2 films, shifts to lower wavenumbers (to ~1055 cm−1) as the amount of Cu in the film increases. At the same time a new band at ~925 cm−1 develops in the spectra. This latter band is a clear indication of Si-O-Cu bond formation [16

16. F. Gracia, F. Yubero, J. P. Holgado, J. P. Espinós, A. R. González-Elipe, and T. Girardeau, “SiO2/TiO2 thin films with variable refractive index prepared by ion beam induced and plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition,” Thin Solid Films 500(1-2), 19–26 (2006). [CrossRef]

]. For films with 50% Cu the Si-O-Si band has nearly disappeared, indicating that there is no segregation of a pure SiO2 phase in the films. Note also that a broad band at about 450-650 cm−1 develops when the amount of Cu in the films increases. However, the typical bands to Cu-O-Cu stretching modes in either Cu2O (at 615 cm−1) or CuO (480 and 529 cm−1) are not observed in the spectra [17

17. G. Papadimitropoulos, N. Vourdas, V. Vamvakas, and D. Davazoglou, “Optical and structural properties of copper oxide thin films grown by oxidation of metal layers,” Thin Solid Films 515(4), 2428–2432 (2006). [CrossRef]

,18

18. B. Lefez, R. Souchet, K. Kartouni, and M. Lenglet, “Infrared reflection study of CuO in thin oxide films,” Thin Solid Films 268(1-2), 45–48 (1995). [CrossRef]

]. This confirms the absence of any significant phase segregation of these oxides, and therefore that the films can be described as a solid solution of silicon and copper oxides.

3.4 Chemical state analysis and local bonding structure

Figure 5
Fig. 5 Cu 2p photoemission spectra of Cu-Si oxide thin films prepared with different experimental process parameters.
shows a series of Cu 2p spectra obtained for several Cu-Si mixed oxide samples. The evolution in the shape of the spectra can be rationalized by a progressive change in the relative content of copper atoms with either Cu+ or Cu2+ oxidation states [19

19. M. Scrocco, “Satellite structure in the x-ray photoelectron spectra of CuO Cu2O,” Chem. Phys. Lett. 63(1), 52–56 (1979). [CrossRef]

,20

20. J. P. Espinós, J. Morales, A. Barranco, A. Caballero, J. P. Holgado, and A. R. González-Elipe, “Interface effects for Cu, CuO, and Cu2O deposited on SiO2 and ZrO2: XPS determination of the valence state of copper in Cu/SiO2 and Cu/ZrO2 catalysts,” J. Phys. Chem. B 106(27), 6921–6929 (2002). [CrossRef]

]. We observe that it varies from a situation with mostly Cu2+ for films prepared with one copper strip and ΦO2Ar = 1.0 to pure Cu+ for the films prepared with three copper strips and ΦO2Ar = 0.1 (i.e., the minimum amount of O2 in the reactive gas that warranties full oxidation of silicon to Si4+). The partition between these two oxidation states can be deduced by linear combination of the spectra of corresponding to pure Cu2+ and Cu+ states. The [Cu+]/([Cu+] + [Cu2+]) ratios obtained in this way are reported in Table 1 for the different preparation conditions. In general we obtain that, for a fixed Cu content in the Cu-Si target, the amount of copper atoms in the Cu + oxidation state which are incorporated in the Cu-Si mixed oxide thin film increases for lower ΦO2Ar ratios. However, precise quantification of the film chemistry based only on this technique has to be taken with care, since we have observed that the surface cleaning procedure (mild O2+ sputtering) tends to reduce the Cu2+ species to Cu+ at the sample surface.

Further information of the chemical nature and local electronic structure around the two constituent cations of the mixed oxide thin films can be gained through the Si and Cu Auger parameters [21

21. C. D. Wagner, “Chemical shifts of Auger lines, and the Auger parameter,” Faraday Discuss. Chem. Soc. 60, 291–300 (1975). [CrossRef]

23

23. J. Morales, J. P. Espinós, A. Caballero, A. R. González-Elipe, and J. A. Mejías, “XPS study of interface and ligand effects in supported Cu2O and CuO nanometric particles,” J. Phys. Chem. B 109(16), 7758–7765 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. The Auger parameter is a local probe that can be correlated to: i) changes in the chemical nature (i.e., oxidation state) of the emitter atom and ii) variation in the extra-atomic relaxation energy when, for a fixed oxidation state, the local environment of a cation changes.

Auger parameters of Si αSi and Cu αCu have been evaluated in the usual way [21

21. C. D. Wagner, “Chemical shifts of Auger lines, and the Auger parameter,” Faraday Discuss. Chem. Soc. 60, 291–300 (1975). [CrossRef]

,22

22. G. Moretti, “Auger parameter and Wagner plot in the characterization of chemical states by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy: a review,” J. Electron Spectrosc. Relat. Phenom. 95(2-3), 95–144 (1998). [CrossRef]

Si = BE(Si 2p) + KE(Si KLL)αCu = BE(Cu 2p3/2) + KE(Cu L3VV)where BE(Si 2p) and BE(Cu 2p3/2) are the binding energies of the Si 2p and Cu 2p3/2 signals and KE(Si KLL) and KE(Cu L3VV) are the kinetic energies of the Si KLL and Cu L3VV Auger emissions, respectively.

Figure 6
Fig. 6 Silicon Auger parameter αSi (left) and Cu Auger parameters αCu (right) as a function of the composition of the Cu-Si oxide thin films.
(left) shows that αSi varies linearly between 1712.2 to 1712.6 eV as the Cu percentage increases in the Si-Cu-O matrix. As a reference, the αSi of pure SiO2 samples (prepared without Cu) appears at 1711.4 eV. Note that for all studied samples, silicon atoms are always present as Si4+ species. Therefore, the increase of αSi as the amount of Cu in the films increases indicates that the photoholes created at the Si sites relax easier (more energy is released by polarization of the nearby matrix) as the amount of copper in the films increases. Therefore, the probability that Cu is the second neighbor through the development of Si-O-Cu bond structures increases with increasing Cu content in the films. This result points again to lack of phase segregation, yielding as a result a continuous evolution in the Auger parameter of Si4+ species from the pure SiO2 matrix to Si diluted in a mostly CuOx matrix for the samples with highest xCu values.

The opposite behavior is observed for αCu. The interpretation of the evolution of αCu with the films composition is not so straightforward, as both the oxidation state (Cu+, Cu2+) and the polarization effects vary simultaneously. Figure 6 (right) shows the evolution of αCu with the relative amount of Cu+ species in the samples, as determined by XPS. Since the reported Auger parameter of Cu+ species in Cu2O is 1849.2 eV and Cu2+ species in CuO is 1851.6 eV (see Fig. 6 (right)), it is likely that changes in αCu are a consequence of both the presence of different oxidation states in the films and the influence of the different polarization of the environment [20

20. J. P. Espinós, J. Morales, A. Barranco, A. Caballero, J. P. Holgado, and A. R. González-Elipe, “Interface effects for Cu, CuO, and Cu2O deposited on SiO2 and ZrO2: XPS determination of the valence state of copper in Cu/SiO2 and Cu/ZrO2 catalysts,” J. Phys. Chem. B 106(27), 6921–6929 (2002). [CrossRef]

].

3.5 Optical properties

Figure 7
Fig. 7 UV-Vis transmission spectra of a series of Cu-Si oxide thin films prepared under several preparation conditions (see legend).
shows transmission UV-Vis spectra of several films prepared on glass with 100 watts as magnetron power. It shows a series of spectra of samples prepared with a fixed ratio ΦO2Ar = 1.0 and varying the number of Cu strips wrapped to the target, as well as spectra of samples prepared with several Cu strips and different mass flow ratio ΦO2Ar. The thicknesses of these samples are about 0.2 microns. It is apparent that the overall absorption of the films increases with the number of Cu strips in the cathode and for lower ΦO2Ar values, i.e., with the percentage of Cu in the films (see Table 1). It is observed a constant weak absorption above 0.6 microns. This absorption increases for shorter wavelengths. The threshold at about 0.3 microns corresponds to the absorption of the glass used in this study.

At this point it is convenient to correlate the obtained results with data reported in the literature for single SiO2, Cu2O or CuO oxides. It is well known that the refractive index of SiO2 is about 1.45. Refractive indices of cuprous oxide thin films [6

6. A. S. Reddy, G. V. Rao, S. Uthanna, and P. S. Reddy, “Structural and optical studies on dc reactive magnetron sputtered Cu2O films,” Mater. Lett. 60(13-14), 1617–1621 (2006). [CrossRef]

,17

17. G. Papadimitropoulos, N. Vourdas, V. Vamvakas, and D. Davazoglou, “Optical and structural properties of copper oxide thin films grown by oxidation of metal layers,” Thin Solid Films 515(4), 2428–2432 (2006). [CrossRef]

,18

18. B. Lefez, R. Souchet, K. Kartouni, and M. Lenglet, “Infrared reflection study of CuO in thin oxide films,” Thin Solid Films 268(1-2), 45–48 (1995). [CrossRef]

,25

25. A. E. Rakhshani, “Measurement of dispersion in electrodeposited Cu2O,” J. Appl. Phys. 62(4), 1528–1529 (1987). [CrossRef]

27

27. A. Parretta, M. K. Jayaraj, A. Di Nocera, S. Loreti, L. Quercia, and A. Agati, “Electrical and optical properties of copper oxide films prepared by reactive RF magnetron sputtering,” Phys. Status Solidi A 155(2), 399–404 (1996). [CrossRef]

], cupric oxide [17

17. G. Papadimitropoulos, N. Vourdas, V. Vamvakas, and D. Davazoglou, “Optical and structural properties of copper oxide thin films grown by oxidation of metal layers,” Thin Solid Films 515(4), 2428–2432 (2006). [CrossRef]

,18

18. B. Lefez, R. Souchet, K. Kartouni, and M. Lenglet, “Infrared reflection study of CuO in thin oxide films,” Thin Solid Films 268(1-2), 45–48 (1995). [CrossRef]

,27

27. A. Parretta, M. K. Jayaraj, A. Di Nocera, S. Loreti, L. Quercia, and A. Agati, “Electrical and optical properties of copper oxide films prepared by reactive RF magnetron sputtering,” Phys. Status Solidi A 155(2), 399–404 (1996). [CrossRef]

] and mixtures of them [28

28. J. Pierson, E. Duverger, and G. Banakh, “Experimental and theoretical contributions to the determination of optical properties of synthetic paramelaconite,” J. Solid State Chem. 180(3), 968–973 (2007). [CrossRef]

] have been reported in the literature. From the rather broad dispersion of reported values, a reasonable n550 of the cuprous oxide is about 2.6, while a slightly lower value can be assumed for cupric oxide. These results are consistent with the values obtained in our study. The highest values of refractive index 2.12 was obtained for the xCu = 0.7.

3.6 Color

As it was mentioned in the introduction section, an application of this kind of films is as decorative coatings, a context where evaluation of their color is a key issue. Color is a perceptual characteristic of light adapted to the human being eye sensitivity. It can be quantified through a colorimetric analysis of a given electromagnetic spectrum. The analysis of the optical properties of the films, according to standard theory of colorimetry [14

14. J. Schanda, Colorimetry: Understanding of the CIE System (John Wiley and Sons, 2007).

], can be used to assess their color when considered in transmission.

Figure 10
Fig. 10 Left: (x,y) chromaticity coordinates (evaluated in transmission) of the Cu-Si oxide thin films studied in this work represented in the CIE 1931 chromaticity diagram. Right: Example of the deposition of Si-Cu mixed oxides with 1, 2 or 3 Cu strips wrapped to a Si target and ΦO2Ar = 0.1.
shows the CIE1931 chromaticity diagram including the (x,y) chromaticity coordinates of the Cu-Si oxide thin films studied in this work. They have been evaluated for transmission geometry of the films deposited on quartz, considering a D65 illuminant, and an observer at 2 degrees field of view. It is found that by increasing the Cu content in the films or their thickness, the color shifts from the achromatic point towards the greenish yellow region (about 570- 580 nm) of the chromaticity diagram This is due mainly to the absorption induced by the band at about 600-800 nm.

Figure 11
Fig. 11 L*, a*, and b* color coordinates in the CIELAB color space of the Cu-Si oxide thin films studied in this work.
shows another representation of the color characteristics of the Cu-Si oxide thin films studied in this work. In this case, the L*, a* and b* color coordinates in the CIELAB color space are shown. The representation of the color coordinates in the CIELAB space is convenient for accurate specification of object colors (two colors which appear similar to a human observer lie close together in the L*a*b* space). Color differences are easily quantified in this space, as they are evaluated as Euclidean distances. The plot includes the evolution of the lightness L*, and color coordinates a* and b* as a function of thickness for 3 particular preparation conditions (3 Cu strips and ΦO2Ar = 1.0 and 0.1, and 5 strips with ΦO2Ar = 1.0). Note first that L* decreases as the thickness of the film increases. Besides, note that a* varies ± 3 units about the value a* = 0. This variation can be justified by the changes induced in the transmitted color due to interference effects. On the other hand, b* increases steadily as the thickness increases. This behavior corresponds to colors with approximately constant hue (defined as the arctan(b*/a*) and increasing chroma (modulus of the (a*,b*) vector), when Cu content and thickness are increased. Other experimental conditions tested in this study showed weaker effects on the color variation.

An important component of the achieved color is due to the absorption band about 700-800 nm. However the actual transmitted color is also modulated by the absorption induced in the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum and the increase of the refractive index with the Cu content in the films.

Owing to the strict control of the optical properties achievable with this kind of films, we have proposed their use as optical coatings for colored ophthalmic lenses [30

30. R. Fernandez-Serrano, A. Vilajoana-Mas, J.C. Dürsteler-López, J. Gil-Rostra, F. Yubero-Valencia, A.R. González-Elipe, “Polymer lens comprising a hardening layer, and absorbent layer, and a interferential multilayer and corresponding method,” PCT/ES2010/000100.

].

4. Discussion

The use of Cu strips wrapped in the Si target has been demonstrated to be a good approach to prepare Cu-Si oxide thin films with variable and controlled composition. In our system, the erosion track at the Si target induced by the magnetron sputtering was a circumference of ~20 mm of radius (i.e., ~125 mm circumference length). Taking into account the stoichiometries of the Cu-Si oxide films and that each Cu strip covers about 3 mm of the eroded track, it can be estimated that the Cu sputter efficiency is about 6 times higher than that of the Si target (see Table 1) in agreement with reported sputtering yields of Cu and Si [13

13. J. F. Ziegler, J. P. Biersack, and U. Littmark, The Stopping and Range of Ions in Solids (Pergamon, 1985), Vol. I.

]. The higher sputtering yield of copper also explains the observed increase in deposition rate with the number of Cu strips (cf. Table 1).

The evolution of OES line intensities can be correlated with the deposition rate. It is observed that the higher the intensity ratio ICu/IAr the higher the deposition rate (compare Fig. 2 with data in Table 1). It also correlates with the chemical nature of the Cu species in the films. Thus, if ICu/IAr >> 0.8 a majority Cu+ species become incorporated in the films. On the other hand, if ICu/IAr << 0.8 mainly Cu2+ are incorporated into the film structure. Therefore ICu/IAr can be used as an “in-situ” monitoring parameter of the deposition process.

This strict control of the deposition conditions and therefore thin film characteristics has allowed us to tune the optical properties of the films and, in particular, to adjust their color within a certain range of variation. Thus, it has been realized that for the same stoichiometry, an increase in the concentration of Cu2+ species slightly turn color from the yellow to the greenish-yellow region of the chromatic diagram. These changes should be linked to a decrease of absorption in the 0.6-0.7 µm range. Thus, it can be concluded that not only the amount of Cu in the films but also the Cu+/Cu2+ ratio affect the absorption spectrum, and therefore the color of the films.

Finally, it is worth noting that the results presented above regarding colored oxide thin films by reactive magnetron sputtering using mixed Cu-Si targets can be easily extrapolated to other systems and that the analysis of the plasma is a good procedure for the “in situ” monitoring of the growth process of mixed oxide thin films.

5. Conclusions

Acknowledgments

We thank the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (Cenit ARTDECO CEN-20072014, MAT2010-18447, MAT2010-21228, Consolider FUNCOAT CSD2008–00023) and the Junta de Andalucía (projects P09-TEP5283 and CTS-5189) for financial support.

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C. Córdoba, R. Arroyo, J. L. G. Fierro, and M. Viniegra, “Study of xerogel–glass transition of CuO/SiO2,” J. Solid State Chem. 123(1), 93–99 (1996). [CrossRef]

4.

M. G. Ferreira da Silva and J. M. Fernandez-Navarro, “Colour of silicate sol-gel glasses containing CuO,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 100(1-3), 447–452 (1988). [CrossRef]

5.

B. Balamurugan and B. R. Mehta, “Optical and structural properties of nanocrystalline copper oxide thin films prepared by activated reactive evaporation,” Thin Solid Films 396(1-2), 90–96 (2001). [CrossRef]

6.

A. S. Reddy, G. V. Rao, S. Uthanna, and P. S. Reddy, “Structural and optical studies on dc reactive magnetron sputtered Cu2O films,” Mater. Lett. 60(13-14), 1617–1621 (2006). [CrossRef]

7.

V. F. Drobny and D. L. Pulfrey, “Properties of reactively-sputtered copper oxide thin films,” Thin Solid Films 61(1), 89–98 (1979). [CrossRef]

8.

P. Carvalho, J. M. Chappé, L. Cunha, S. Lanceros-Méndez, P. Alpuim, F. Vaz, E. Alves, C. Rousselot, J. P. Espinós, and A. R. González-Elipe, “Influence of the chemical and electronic structure on the electrical behavior of zirconium oxynitride films,” J. Appl. Phys. 103(10), 104907 (2008). [CrossRef]

9.

H. L. Smith and A. J. Cohen, “Absorption spectra of cations in alkali-silicate glasses of ultra-violet transmission,” Phys. Chem. Glasses 4, 173–187 (1963).

10.

I. Nakai, C. Numako, H. Hosono, and K. Yamasaki, “Origin of the red color of satsuma copper-ruby glass as determined by EXAFS and optical absorption spectroscopy,” J. Am. Ceram. Soc. 82(3), 689–695 (1999). [CrossRef]

11.

T. Akai, H. Yamanaka, and H. Wakabayashi, “Preparation of copper-ruby glasses by sputtering: the effect of atmosphere on the growth of copper particles,” J. Am. Ceram. Soc. 79(4), 859–864 (1996). [CrossRef]

12.

C. R. Bamford, “The application of the ligand field theory to coloured glasses,” Phys. Chem. Glasses 3, 189–202 (1962).

13.

J. F. Ziegler, J. P. Biersack, and U. Littmark, The Stopping and Range of Ions in Solids (Pergamon, 1985), Vol. I.

14.

J. Schanda, Colorimetry: Understanding of the CIE System (John Wiley and Sons, 2007).

15.

F. Liu, C. S. Ren, Y. N. Wang, X. L. Qi, and T. C. Ma, “The optical emission spectroscopy study of an rf-plasma-enhanced magnetron sputtering system,” Vacuum 81(3), 221–225 (2006). [CrossRef]

16.

F. Gracia, F. Yubero, J. P. Holgado, J. P. Espinós, A. R. González-Elipe, and T. Girardeau, “SiO2/TiO2 thin films with variable refractive index prepared by ion beam induced and plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition,” Thin Solid Films 500(1-2), 19–26 (2006). [CrossRef]

17.

G. Papadimitropoulos, N. Vourdas, V. Vamvakas, and D. Davazoglou, “Optical and structural properties of copper oxide thin films grown by oxidation of metal layers,” Thin Solid Films 515(4), 2428–2432 (2006). [CrossRef]

18.

B. Lefez, R. Souchet, K. Kartouni, and M. Lenglet, “Infrared reflection study of CuO in thin oxide films,” Thin Solid Films 268(1-2), 45–48 (1995). [CrossRef]

19.

M. Scrocco, “Satellite structure in the x-ray photoelectron spectra of CuO Cu2O,” Chem. Phys. Lett. 63(1), 52–56 (1979). [CrossRef]

20.

J. P. Espinós, J. Morales, A. Barranco, A. Caballero, J. P. Holgado, and A. R. González-Elipe, “Interface effects for Cu, CuO, and Cu2O deposited on SiO2 and ZrO2: XPS determination of the valence state of copper in Cu/SiO2 and Cu/ZrO2 catalysts,” J. Phys. Chem. B 106(27), 6921–6929 (2002). [CrossRef]

21.

C. D. Wagner, “Chemical shifts of Auger lines, and the Auger parameter,” Faraday Discuss. Chem. Soc. 60, 291–300 (1975). [CrossRef]

22.

G. Moretti, “Auger parameter and Wagner plot in the characterization of chemical states by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy: a review,” J. Electron Spectrosc. Relat. Phenom. 95(2-3), 95–144 (1998). [CrossRef]

23.

J. Morales, J. P. Espinós, A. Caballero, A. R. González-Elipe, and J. A. Mejías, “XPS study of interface and ligand effects in supported Cu2O and CuO nanometric particles,” J. Phys. Chem. B 109(16), 7758–7765 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

24.

A. Forouhi and I. Bloomer, “Optical dispersion relations for amorphous semiconductors and amorphous dielectrics,” Phys. Rev. B 34(10), 7018–7026 (1986). [CrossRef]

25.

A. E. Rakhshani, “Measurement of dispersion in electrodeposited Cu2O,” J. Appl. Phys. 62(4), 1528–1529 (1987). [CrossRef]

26.

T. Mahalingam, J. S. P. Chitra, S. Rajendran, M. Jayachandran, and M. J. Chockalingam, “Galvanostatic deposition and characterization of cuprous oxide thin films,” J. Cryst. Growth 216(1-4), 304–310 (2000). [CrossRef]

27.

A. Parretta, M. K. Jayaraj, A. Di Nocera, S. Loreti, L. Quercia, and A. Agati, “Electrical and optical properties of copper oxide films prepared by reactive RF magnetron sputtering,” Phys. Status Solidi A 155(2), 399–404 (1996). [CrossRef]

28.

J. Pierson, E. Duverger, and G. Banakh, “Experimental and theoretical contributions to the determination of optical properties of synthetic paramelaconite,” J. Solid State Chem. 180(3), 968–973 (2007). [CrossRef]

29.

C. R. Bamford, “The application of the ligand field theory to coloured glasses,” Phys. Chem. Glasses 3, 189–202 (1962).

30.

R. Fernandez-Serrano, A. Vilajoana-Mas, J.C. Dürsteler-López, J. Gil-Rostra, F. Yubero-Valencia, A.R. González-Elipe, “Polymer lens comprising a hardening layer, and absorbent layer, and a interferential multilayer and corresponding method,” PCT/ES2010/000100.

31.

F. J. Ferrer, F. Yubero, J. A. Mejías, F. J. García-López, and A. R. González-Elipe, “Microscopic and macroscopic dielectric description of mixed oxide thin films,” J. Appl. Phys. 102(8), 084112 (2007). [CrossRef]

32.

F. Yubero, A. Stabel, and A. R. González-Elipe, “Optical properties and electron spectroscopy characterization of AlxTiyOz thin films,” J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 16(6), 3477–3482 (1998). [CrossRef]

OCIS Codes
(310.1860) Thin films : Deposition and fabrication
(310.3840) Thin films : Materials and process characterization
(310.6860) Thin films : Thin films, optical properties
(330.4460) Vision, color, and visual optics : Ophthalmic optics and devices

ToC Category:
Thin Films

History
Original Manuscript: August 22, 2011
Revised Manuscript: September 2, 2011
Manuscript Accepted: September 2, 2011
Published: September 11, 2011

Citation
J. Gil-Rosta, F. Yubero, R. Fernández, T. Vilajoana, P. Artús, J. C. Dürsteler, J. Cotrino, I. Ortega, and A. R. González-Elipe, "Colored semi-transparent Cu-Si oxide thin films prepared by magnetron sputtering," Opt. Mater. Express 1, 1100-1112 (2011)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/ome/abstract.cfm?URI=ome-1-6-1100


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References

  1. M. Arbab and J. J. Finley, “Glass in architecture,” Int. J. Appl. Glass Sci.1(1), 118–129 (2010). [CrossRef]
  2. C. M. Parler, J. A. Ritter, and M. D. Amiridis, “Infrared spectroscopic study of sol–gel derived mixed-metal oxides,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids279(2-3), 119–125 (2001). [CrossRef]
  3. C. Córdoba, R. Arroyo, J. L. G. Fierro, and M. Viniegra, “Study of xerogel–glass transition of CuO/SiO2,” J. Solid State Chem.123(1), 93–99 (1996). [CrossRef]
  4. M. G. Ferreira da Silva and J. M. Fernandez-Navarro, “Colour of silicate sol-gel glasses containing CuO,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids100(1-3), 447–452 (1988). [CrossRef]
  5. B. Balamurugan and B. R. Mehta, “Optical and structural properties of nanocrystalline copper oxide thin films prepared by activated reactive evaporation,” Thin Solid Films396(1-2), 90–96 (2001). [CrossRef]
  6. A. S. Reddy, G. V. Rao, S. Uthanna, and P. S. Reddy, “Structural and optical studies on dc reactive magnetron sputtered Cu2O films,” Mater. Lett.60(13-14), 1617–1621 (2006). [CrossRef]
  7. V. F. Drobny and D. L. Pulfrey, “Properties of reactively-sputtered copper oxide thin films,” Thin Solid Films61(1), 89–98 (1979). [CrossRef]
  8. P. Carvalho, J. M. Chappé, L. Cunha, S. Lanceros-Méndez, P. Alpuim, F. Vaz, E. Alves, C. Rousselot, J. P. Espinós, and A. R. González-Elipe, “Influence of the chemical and electronic structure on the electrical behavior of zirconium oxynitride films,” J. Appl. Phys.103(10), 104907 (2008). [CrossRef]
  9. H. L. Smith and A. J. Cohen, “Absorption spectra of cations in alkali-silicate glasses of ultra-violet transmission,” Phys. Chem. Glasses4, 173–187 (1963).
  10. I. Nakai, C. Numako, H. Hosono, and K. Yamasaki, “Origin of the red color of satsuma copper-ruby glass as determined by EXAFS and optical absorption spectroscopy,” J. Am. Ceram. Soc.82(3), 689–695 (1999). [CrossRef]
  11. T. Akai, H. Yamanaka, and H. Wakabayashi, “Preparation of copper-ruby glasses by sputtering: the effect of atmosphere on the growth of copper particles,” J. Am. Ceram. Soc.79(4), 859–864 (1996). [CrossRef]
  12. C. R. Bamford, “The application of the ligand field theory to coloured glasses,” Phys. Chem. Glasses3, 189–202 (1962).
  13. J. F. Ziegler, J. P. Biersack, and U. Littmark, The Stopping and Range of Ions in Solids (Pergamon, 1985), Vol. I.
  14. J. Schanda, Colorimetry: Understanding of the CIE System (John Wiley and Sons, 2007).
  15. F. Liu, C. S. Ren, Y. N. Wang, X. L. Qi, and T. C. Ma, “The optical emission spectroscopy study of an rf-plasma-enhanced magnetron sputtering system,” Vacuum81(3), 221–225 (2006). [CrossRef]
  16. F. Gracia, F. Yubero, J. P. Holgado, J. P. Espinós, A. R. González-Elipe, and T. Girardeau, “SiO2/TiO2 thin films with variable refractive index prepared by ion beam induced and plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition,” Thin Solid Films500(1-2), 19–26 (2006). [CrossRef]
  17. G. Papadimitropoulos, N. Vourdas, V. Vamvakas, and D. Davazoglou, “Optical and structural properties of copper oxide thin films grown by oxidation of metal layers,” Thin Solid Films515(4), 2428–2432 (2006). [CrossRef]
  18. B. Lefez, R. Souchet, K. Kartouni, and M. Lenglet, “Infrared reflection study of CuO in thin oxide films,” Thin Solid Films268(1-2), 45–48 (1995). [CrossRef]
  19. M. Scrocco, “Satellite structure in the x-ray photoelectron spectra of CuO Cu2O,” Chem. Phys. Lett.63(1), 52–56 (1979). [CrossRef]
  20. J. P. Espinós, J. Morales, A. Barranco, A. Caballero, J. P. Holgado, and A. R. González-Elipe, “Interface effects for Cu, CuO, and Cu2O deposited on SiO2 and ZrO2: XPS determination of the valence state of copper in Cu/SiO2 and Cu/ZrO2 catalysts,” J. Phys. Chem. B106(27), 6921–6929 (2002). [CrossRef]
  21. C. D. Wagner, “Chemical shifts of Auger lines, and the Auger parameter,” Faraday Discuss. Chem. Soc.60, 291–300 (1975). [CrossRef]
  22. G. Moretti, “Auger parameter and Wagner plot in the characterization of chemical states by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy: a review,” J. Electron Spectrosc. Relat. Phenom.95(2-3), 95–144 (1998). [CrossRef]
  23. J. Morales, J. P. Espinós, A. Caballero, A. R. González-Elipe, and J. A. Mejías, “XPS study of interface and ligand effects in supported Cu2O and CuO nanometric particles,” J. Phys. Chem. B109(16), 7758–7765 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  24. A. Forouhi and I. Bloomer, “Optical dispersion relations for amorphous semiconductors and amorphous dielectrics,” Phys. Rev. B34(10), 7018–7026 (1986). [CrossRef]
  25. A. E. Rakhshani, “Measurement of dispersion in electrodeposited Cu2O,” J. Appl. Phys.62(4), 1528–1529 (1987). [CrossRef]
  26. T. Mahalingam, J. S. P. Chitra, S. Rajendran, M. Jayachandran, and M. J. Chockalingam, “Galvanostatic deposition and characterization of cuprous oxide thin films,” J. Cryst. Growth216(1-4), 304–310 (2000). [CrossRef]
  27. A. Parretta, M. K. Jayaraj, A. Di Nocera, S. Loreti, L. Quercia, and A. Agati, “Electrical and optical properties of copper oxide films prepared by reactive RF magnetron sputtering,” Phys. Status Solidi A155(2), 399–404 (1996). [CrossRef]
  28. J. Pierson, E. Duverger, and G. Banakh, “Experimental and theoretical contributions to the determination of optical properties of synthetic paramelaconite,” J. Solid State Chem.180(3), 968–973 (2007). [CrossRef]
  29. C. R. Bamford, “The application of the ligand field theory to coloured glasses,” Phys. Chem. Glasses3, 189–202 (1962).
  30. R. Fernandez-Serrano, A. Vilajoana-Mas, J.C. Dürsteler-López, J. Gil-Rostra, F. Yubero-Valencia, A.R. González-Elipe, “Polymer lens comprising a hardening layer, and absorbent layer, and a interferential multilayer and corresponding method,” PCT/ES2010/000100.
  31. F. J. Ferrer, F. Yubero, J. A. Mejías, F. J. García-López, and A. R. González-Elipe, “Microscopic and macroscopic dielectric description of mixed oxide thin films,” J. Appl. Phys.102(8), 084112 (2007). [CrossRef]
  32. F. Yubero, A. Stabel, and A. R. González-Elipe, “Optical properties and electron spectroscopy characterization of AlxTiyOz thin films,” J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A16(6), 3477–3482 (1998). [CrossRef]

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