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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Electronic structure and conductivity of nanocomposite metal (Au,Ag,Cu,Mo)-containing amorphous carbon films


In this work, we study the influence of the incorporation of different metals (Me = Au, Ag, Cu, Mo) on the electronic structure of amorphous carbon (a-C:Me) films. The films were produced at room temperature using a novel pulsed dual-cathode arc deposition technique. Compositional analysis was performed with secondary neutral mass spectroscopy whereas X-ray diffraction was used to identify the formation of metal nanoclusters in the carbon matrix. The metal content incorporated in the nanocomposite films induces a drastic increase in the conductivity, in parallel with a decrease in the band gap corrected from Urbach energy. The electronic structure as a function of the Me content has been monitored by x-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) at the C K-edge. XANES showed that the C host matrix has a dominant graphitic character and that it is not affected significantly by the incorporation of metal impurities, except for the case of Mo, where the modifications in the lineshape spectra indicated the formation of a carbide phase. Subtle modifications of the spectral lineshape are discussed in terms of nanocomposite formation.

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