Advanced Summer School in Physics 2006
Conference paper

TiN surface dynamics: Role of surface and bulk mass transport processes

View publication


Transition-metal nitrides, such as TiN, have a wide variety of applications as hard, wear-resistant coatings, as diffusion barriers, and as scratch-resistant and anti-reflective coatings in optics. Understanding the surface morphological and microstructural evolution of these materials is crucial for improving the performance of devices. Studies of surface step dynamics enable determination of the rate-limiting mechanisms, corresponding surface mass transport parameters, and step energies. However, most models describing these phenomena are limited in application to simple elemental metal and semiconductor surfaces. Here, we summarize recent progress toward elucidating the interplay of surface and bulk diffusion processes on morphological evolution of compound surfaces. Specifically, we analyze the coarsening/decay kinetics of two- and three-dimensional TiN(111) islands and the effect of surface-terminated dislocations on TiN(111) steps. © 2007 American Institute of Physics.