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Publications in 2023

ABSTRACT: This paper reports on the deposition of amorphous and crystalline thin films of Ga2O3 by reactive pulsed direct current magnetron sputtering from a liquid gallium target onto fused (f-) quartz and c plane (c-) sapphire substrates, where the temperature of the substrate is varied from room temperature (RT) to 800 °C. The deposition rate (up to 37 nm/min at RT on f-quartz and 5 nm/min at 800 °C on c-sapphire) is two to five times higher than the data given in the literature for radio frequency sputtering. Deposited onto unheated substrates, the films are X-ray amorphous. Well-defined X-ray diffraction peaks of β-Ga2O3 start to appear at a substrate temperature of 500 °C. Films grown on c-sapphire at temperatures above 600 °C are epitaxial. However, the high rocking curve full width at half maximum values of ≈2.4–2.5° are indicative of the presence of defects. A dense and void-free microstructure is observed in electron microscopy images. Composition analysis show stoichiometry close to Ga2O3 and no traces of impurities. The optical properties of low absorptance (<1%) in the visible range and an optical band gap of approximately 5 eV are consistent with the data in the literature for Ga2O3 films produced by other deposition methods.

Vacuum, Volume 209, March 2023, 111789
DOI: 10.1016/j.vacuum.2022.111789
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ABSTRACT: Solid state ionics is one of the key research topics of the Institute of Solid State Physics, University of Latvia since its establishment. The research direction included topics ranging from electrochromic phenomena in transition metal oxides through gas sensors and electronic nose to materials for rechargeable battery electrodes and materials for hydrogen energy. By the late 1980s, the institute had become one of the biggest and most prolific solid state ionic centres in the USSR and Eastern Europe and continues to maintain its position among the regional leaders in the field. Regular regional conferences and workshops were organized and some of the published works can be ranked among the pioneering works in the world of science. This extensive historical review summarizes information on the development of solid state ionics, actual research and achievements from establishment of the institute to the present day. Currently many collaborations are ongoing with partners across Europe and beyond in research ranging from battery materials and smart windows for zero energy buildings to hydrogen production, maintaining and growing its strength as key national, regional, and international centre of research excellence in solid state ionics.

Journal of Solid State Electrochemistry, February 2023
DOI: 10.1007/s10008-023-05419-8


ABSTRACT: An experimental investigation was conducted to explore spectroscopic and structural characterization of semiconducting yttrium oxide thin film deposited at 623 K (±5K) utilizing reactive pulsed direct current magnetron sputtering. Based on the results obtained from both x-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscope measurements, yttrium monoxide is very likely formed in the transition region between β-Y2O3 and α-Y2O3, and accompanied by the crystalline Y2O3. Resulting from either the low energy separation between 4d and 5s orbitals and/or different spin states of the corresponding orbitals’ sublevels, the stability of monoxide is most presumably self-limited by the size of the crystal in thermodynamic terms. This behavior develops a distortion in the structure of the crystal compared to the metal oxide cubic structure and it also effectuates the arrangement in nanocrystalline/amorphous phase. In addition to this, spectroscopic ellipsometry denotes that the semiconducting yttrium oxide has the dominant, mostly amorphous, formation character over crystalline Y2O3. Our purpose, by means of the current findings, is to advance the understanding of formation kinetics/conditions of yttrium with an unusual valency (2+).

Vacuum, Volume 211, May 2023, 111942
DOI: 10.1016/j.vacuum.2023.111942


ABSTRACT: In this critical review, we call attention to a widespread problem related to the vast disagreement in elastic moduli values reported by different authors for nanostructures made of the same material. As a particular example, we focus on ZnO nanowires (NWs), which are among the most intensively studied nanomaterials due to their remarkable physical properties and promising applications. Since ZnO NWs possess piezoelectric effects, many applications involve mechanical deformations. Therefore, there are plenty of works dedicated to the mechanical characterization of ZnO NWs using various experimental and computational techniques. Although the most of works consider exactly the same growth direction and wurtzite crystal structure, reported values of Young’s modulus vary drastically from author to author ranging from 20 to 800 GPa. Moreover, both – diameter dependent and independent – Young’s modulus values have been reported. In this work, we give a critical overview and perform a thorough analysis of the available experimental and theoretical works on the mechanical characterization of ZnO NWs in order to find out the most significant sources of errors and to bring out the most trustable results.

Vacuum, Volume 211, May 2023, 111942
DOI: 10.1515/ntrev-2022-0505
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Institute of Solid State Physics, University of Latvia, Thin Films Laboratory