AlN films were prepared with a microwave plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition reactor working at different process temperatures in order to obtain polycrystalline 〈0001〉 oriented films for piezoelectric applications. The films developed were characterized in terms of microstructure, composition, and mechanical properties. Crystalline development and a single orientation were obtained at high temperatures, where at the same time an increase in mechanical intrinsic stresses was observed. Well crystallized 〈0001〉 films were obtained at temperature as low as 500 °C. Furthermore, the evolution of microstructure with thickness at higher temperatures showed a single 〈0001〉 orientation with progressive increase of the texture as the thickness increased. This fact was related with changes in the observed microstructure along the film z-axis, evaluated by high resolution transmission electronic microscopy and selected area electron diffraction. Although orientation dispersion of these films, evidenced by the rocking curves FWHM, remained relatively high (>9°), they can be regarded as promising for piezoelectric applications. Annealing tests conducted at relatively high temperatures with films deposited at low temperature indicated that thermal effects have only a major effect during the film growth for the temperature values employed.
High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy Film Growth Misalignment Angle Intrinsic Stress
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The authors wish to acknowledge Eric Gautron for the HRTEM and SAED analysis made at the Institute des Materiaux Jean Rouxel, Université de Nantes, and to Valérie Coudert for AFM images obtained at the SPCTS laboratory, Université de Limoges.
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