Alison Wells SRC 2011 CP&MS BYU
We have recently found that exposure of reactively sputtered yttrium oxide thin films to 7.2 eV photons in air, nitrogen, and argon produces a dramatic (factor of 5) increase in the films’ thickness. This result was completely unexpected and therefore demanded further investigation. It is vital to understand how metal oxides might swell during cleaning. To investigate this further we studied both reactively and air oxidized scandium oxide. Scandium was chosen for its location directly above yttrium on the periodic table. We are looking into the possibility of water as a cause of growth by studying the oxygen to metal ratio. Yttrium may be slightly hydroscopic, but scandium is soluble in water. To date there has been no growth in the air oxidized scandium observed. In studying the films we use ellipsometry, XPS, and STEM.