Graded selective coatings based on zirconium and titanium oxynitride

A. Rizzo, M.A. Signore, L. Tapfer, E. Piscopiello, A. Cappello, E. Bemporad, M. Sebastiani

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The aim of this study was the development and characterization of transition metal oxynitride multilayers for optical applications. The reactive RF magnetron sputtering technique in rotation mode was used for stacking of zirconium oxynitride (ZrNO) and titanium oxynitride (TiNO) nanolayers. The depositions were carried out in a reactive Ar+N2+O2 atmosphere by sputtering titanium and zirconium targets. By means of different substrate rotation speeds, the bilayer period has been changed in the range 11-20 nm. A multilayer deposition rate increasing with the bilayer period decreasing has been evaluated. Structural, compositional, mechanical and optical analyses have been performed. The x-ray diffraction spectra confirmed the formation of a multilayer structure with a nitride formation prevalence. Non-abrupt interfaces between the layers and non-uniform chemical composition (chemical intermixing) have been detected by transmission electron microscope (TEM) observations. The gradient interface structure turns out to be an advantage for the improvement of the mechanical properties. Higher hardness values were calculated by the Chicot-Lesage and Jonsson-Hogmark models for TiNO/ZrNO multilayer compared with monolayer TiNO and ZrNO coatings. Also SIMS analysis has confirmed a compositional interface grading but also an increase in oxygen content with decreasing substrate rotation speed or similarly with decreasing deposition rate. Moreover, a tuning of the optical properties, going from metallic behaviour to dielectric with the decrease in the substrate rotation speed has been gained. The variation of the deposition rate allows a sort of 'regulation' of the oxygen incorporation with a precise tailoring of the optical properties. This result can be employed with the aim of depositing graded composition multilayer systems with a precise control of their optical selective wavelength properties. The improvement in the mechanical performance in graded oxynitride multilayer coatings would also allow an increase in the optical device lifetime. © 2009 IOP Publishing Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Article number115406
Pages (from-to)-
JournalJournal Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

Cite this

Rizzo, A., Signore, M. A., Tapfer, L., Piscopiello, E., Cappello, A., Bemporad, E., & Sebastiani, M. (2009). Graded selective coatings based on zirconium and titanium oxynitride. Journal Physics D: Applied Physics, 42(11), -. [115406].