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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2016, Article ID 5348471, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/5348471
Research Article

Structure-Dependent Mechanical Properties of ALD-Grown Nanocrystalline BiFeO3 Multiferroics

1Nordic Hysitron Laboratory, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Aalto University, 00076 Espoo, Finland
2A. Chelkowski Institute of Physics, University of Silesia, Uniwersytecka 4, 40-007 Katowice, Poland
3Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 43, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
4Institute of Material Sciences, University of Silesia, 75 Pulku Piechoty 1A, 41-500 Chorzow, Poland
5Department of Chemistry, Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 55, 00014 Helsinki, Finland

Received 17 February 2016; Accepted 5 April 2016

Academic Editor: Jeffrey Elam

Copyright © 2016 Anna Majtyka et al. 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.

Abstract

The present paper pertains to mechanical properties and structure of nanocrystalline multiferroic BeFiO3 (BFO) thin films, grown by atomic layer deposition (ALD) on the Si/SiO2/Pt substrate. The usage of sharp-tip-nanoindentation and multiple techniques of structure examination, namely, grazing incidence X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry, enabled us to detect changes in elastic properties and hardness of BFO after stages of annealing and observe their relation to the material’s structural evolution. Our experiments point towards an increase in structural homogeneity of the samples annealed for a longer time. To our best knowledge, the present report constitutes the first disclosure of nanoindentation mechanical characteristics of ALD-fabricated BeFiO3, providing a new insight into the phenomena that accompany structure formation and development of nanocrystalline multiferroics. We believe that our systematic characterization of the BFO layers carried out at consecutive stages of their deposition provides pertinent information which is needed to control and optimize its ALD fabrication.