Design, Fabrication and Characterization of Thin Film Structures Through Oxidation Kinetics
Materials science and engineering is devoted to the understanding of the physics and chemistry of materials at the mesoscale and to applying that knowledge into real-life applications. In this work, different oxide materials and different oxidation methods are studied from a materials science point of view and for specific applications. First, the deposition of complex metal oxides is explored for solar energy concentration. This requires a number of multi-cation oxide structures such as thin-film dielectric barriers, low loss waveguides or the use of continuously graded composition oxides for antireflection coatings and light concentration. Then, oxidation via Joule heating is used for the self-alignment of a selector on top of a memristor structure on a nanovia. Simulations are used to explore the necessary voltage for the insulator-to-metal transition temperature of NbO2 using finite element analysis, followed by the fabrication and the characterization of such a device. Finally, long-term copper oxidation at room temperature and pressure is studied using optical techniques. Alternative characterization techniques are used to confirm the growth rate and phase change, and an application of copper oxide as a volatile conductive bridge is shown. All these examples show how the combination of novel simulation, fabrication and characterization techniques can be used to understand physical mechanisms and enable disruptive technologies in fields such as solar cells, light emitting diodes, photodetectors or memory devices.