Sandia staff members Jon Ihlefeld and Geoff Brennecka (Electronic, Optical, & Nano Materials Dept.) and Paul Kotula (Materials Characterization & Performance Dept.) and student interns Chris Shelton (Oregon State University and NC State University) and Kelsey Meyer (New Mexico Tech) had their work featured on the inside front cover of Advanced Functional Materials’ June 6, 2012, issue.
Their work demonstrated a new means to prepare metallized silicon substrates resulting in exceptional improvements in the dielectric and ferroelectric responses of lead zirconate titanate and barium titanate thin films deposited on the substrates. The performance improvements could be traced to a substantial decrease in the chemical heterogeneity in the oxide thin films. The team found, through scanning transmission electron microscopy and chemical mapping, that the metallization stack in conventional substrates was diffusing into the oxide films and diminishing the measured perofrmance. Replacing the convential metal adhesion layer, titanium, with zinc oxide eliminated this unwanted diffusion.