Thin Solid Films

Intrinsic stress of magnetron-sputtered niobium films

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The stresses in niobium films were studied and the following preliminary results were obtained. (1) Niobium films can be prepared in any stress state (tensile, stress free or compressive) by varying the argon sputtering pressure. (2) As the bias voltage increases, more argon is incorporated into the film; both Tc and R R0 decrease; and the stress becomes more compressive and seems to saturate at about 1.5 × 1010 dyn cm-2 at higher bias voltages (at an argon sputtering pressure of 1.9 Pa). (3) The lattice parameters show a close relation to the film stresses. (4) Lowering the sputtering rate results in a higher argon content in the bias-sputtered films. (5) The as-deposited film surface is smoother when deposited at lower pressures; the film has a columnar structure and intercolumnar gaps at higher pressures. (6) The film prepared at a higher bias voltage has a smoother as-deposited surface and a much smaller column size. From this study of the behavior of the stresses in niobium films, it appears that the stress is determined mainly by the microstructure and the energetic particle bombardment. Energetic particle bombardment may promote compressive stress by the incorporation of argon, by the formation of a more dense microstructure and by a "shot-peening" action. © 1979.


15 Nov 1979


Thin Solid Films