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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2008 (2008), Article ID 267161, 9 pages
Research Article

Pressure and Temperature Effects on Stoichiometry and Microstructure of Nitrogen-Rich TiN Thin Films Synthesized via Reactive Magnetron DC-Sputtering

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Bourns College of Engineering, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA

Received 1 September 2007; Accepted 11 January 2008

Academic Editor: Jun Lou

Copyright © 2008 E. Penilla and J. Wang. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Nitrogen-rich titanium nitride (TiN) thin films containing excess nitrogen up to 87.0 at.% were produced on (100) Si substrates via the reactive magnetron DC-sputtering of a commercially available 99.995 at.% pure Ti target within an argon-nitrogen (Ar- ) atmosphere with a 20-to-1 gas ratio. The process pressure ( ) and substrate temperature ( ) at which deposition occurred were varied systematically between 0.26 Pa–1.60 Pa and between , respectively, and their effects on the chemical composition, surface morphology, and preferred orientation were characterized by energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The EDS analysis confirms increasing nitrogen content with increasing and . The SEM images reveal a uniform and crystallized surface morphology as well as a closely packed cross-sectional morphology for all crystalline films and a loosely packed cross-sectional morphology for amorphous films. Films produced at lower and have a pyramidal surface morphology which transitions to a columnar and stratified structure as and increase. The XRD analysis confirms the existence of only the -TiN phase and the absence of other nitrides, oxides, and/or sillicides in all cases. It also indicates that at lower and , the preferred orientation relative to the substrate is along the (111) planes, and that it transitions to a random orientation along the (200), (220), and (311) planes as and increase and these results correlate with and qualify those observed by SEM.