Working Paper Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Tuning of the Silicon Nitride Refractive Index by RF Sputtering Power

Version 1 : Received: 6 July 2021 / Approved: 7 July 2021 / Online: 7 July 2021 (12:05:33 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: Thin Solid Films 2021, 737, 138951
DOI: 10.1016/j.tsf.2021.138951


The fabrication of thin-film multilayer structures by sputtering technique usually requires multi-cathode deposition machine. This study proposes a simpler approach based on the RF power modulation: silicon nitride (SiN$_x$) thin films were prepared by RF reactive sputtering in (Ar + N$_2$) atmosphere at room temperature. The samples were analyzed to highlight the effects of different deposition conditions on the morphological and optical properties of the films in the visible and near/mid-IR regions. The refractive index of the films was changed in the range of 1.5 - 2.5 (at $\lambda$=800 nm) by tuning the sputtering power. IR reflectance measurements revealed the absence of spurious (oxygen- or hydrogen-based) phases, while atomic force and scanning electron microscopies confirmed the presence of flat and defect-free samples surfaces.


Silicon nitride; RF sputtering; refractive index; FTIR; AFM; SEM

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