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A comparative study of the UV optical and structural properties of SiO2, Al2O3, and HfO2 single layers deposited by reactive evaporation, ion-assisted deposition and plasma ion-assisted deposition

: Thielsch, R.; Gatto, A.; Heber, J.; Kaiser, N.


Thin solid films 410 (2002), Nr.1-2, S.86-93
ISSN: 0040-6090
Fraunhofer IOF ()
UV property; optical property; structural property; reactive evaporation; ion assisted deposition; Plasma-Ion Assisted Deposition; radiation resistance; high-power laser radiation; optical interference coating; oxide thin film material; electronic bandgap; evaporation rate; substrate temperature; bombarding gas; ion energies; ion current density; high-quality coating; multilayer interference system; reactive e-beam evaporation; degradation stability; dielectric mirror; UV free-electron laser optical cavity; very dense film; minimum absorption; low-loss reactive electron-beam evaporation; spectral photometry; infrared spectroscopy; x-ray diffraction; reflectometry; surface morphology

Growing requirements for the optical and environmental stability, as well as the radiation resistance against high-power laser radiation, especially for optical interference coatings used in the ultraviolet spectral range, have to be met by new, optimised, thin-film deposition technologies. For applications in the UV spectral range, the number of useful oxide thin film materials is very limited due to the higher absorption at wavelengths near to the electronic bandgap of the materials. Applying ion-assisted processes offers the ability to grow dense and stable films, but in each case careful optimisation of the deposition process (evaporation rate, substrate temperature, bombarding gas, ion energy and ion current density) has to achieve a balance between densification of the layers and the absorption. High-quality coatings and multilayer interference systems with SiO/sub 2/ as the low- index material can be deposited by various physical vapour deposition technologies, including reactive e-beam evaporation, ion-assisted deposition and plasma ion-assisted deposition. In order to improve the degradation stability of dielectric mirrors for use in UV free-electron laser optical cavities, a comparative study of the properties of SiO/sub 2/, Al/sub 2/O/sub 3/ and HfO/sub 2/ single layers was performed, and was addressed to grow very dense films with minimum absorption in the spectral range from 200 to 300 nm. The films were deposited by low-loss reactive electron-beam evaporation, by ion-assisted deposition using a 'Mark II' ion source, and by plasma ion-assisted deposition using the advanced plasma source. Optical and structural properties of the samples were studied by spectral photometry, infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction and reflectometry, as well as by investigation of the surface morphology. The interaction of UV radiation with photon energy values close to the bandgap was studied. For HfO/sub 2/ single layers, laser-induced damage thresholds at 248 nm were determined in the 1-on-1 and 1000-on-1 test modes as a function of the deposition technology and film thickness.