In this work, we report the formation of a new type of active or “smart” surface that is produced by ion implantation and thermal processing. By co-implanting vanadium and oxygen into a single-crystal sapphire substrate and annealing the system under appropriate conditions, it was possible to form buried precipitates of vanadium dioxide that were crystallographically oriented with respect to the host AI2O3 lattice. The implanted VO2 precipitate system undergoes a structural phase transition that is accompanied by large variations in the optical transmission which are comparable to those observed for thin films of VO2 deposited on sapphire. Co-implantation with oxygen was found to be necessary to ensure good optical switching behavior.
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Gea, L.A., Boatner, L.A., Budai, J.D. et al. Optical Switching of Coherent VO2 Precipitates Embedded in Sapphire. MRS Online Proceedings Library 396, 215 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-396-215