Saha, S. ; Krupanidhi, S. B. (2000) Microstructure related influence on the electrical properties of pulsed laser ablated (Ba,Sr)TiO3 thin films Journal of Applied Physics, 88 (6). pp. 3506-3513. ISSN 0021-8979
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Official URL: http://jap.aip.org/resource/1/japiau/v88/i6/p3506_...
Related URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.1288018
The microstructural dependence of electrical properties of (Ba,Sr)TiO3(BST) thin films were studied from the viewpoint of dc and ac electrical properties. The films were grown using a pulsed laser deposition technique in a temperature range of 300 to 600° C, inducing changes in grain size, structure, and morphology. Consequently, two different types of films were realized, of which type I, was polycrystalline, multigrained, while type II was  oriented possessing a densely packed fibrous microstructure. Leakage current measurements were done at elevated temperatures to provide evidence of the conduction mechanism present in these films. The results revealed a contribution from both electronic and ionic conduction. In the case of type I films, two trapping levels were identified with energies around 0.5 and 2.73 eV, which possibly originate from oxygen vacancies ν and Ti3+ centers, respectively. These levels act as shallow and deep traps and are reflected in the current-voltage characteristics of the BST thin films. The activation energy associated with oxygen vacancy motion in this case was obtained as 1.28 eV. On the contrary, type II films showed no evidence of deep trap energy levels, while the identified activation energy associated with shallow traps was obtained as 0.38 eV. The activation energy obtained for oxygen vacancy motion in type II films was around 1.02 eV. The dc measurement results were further elucidated through ac impedance analysis, which revealed a grain boundary dominated response in type I in comparison to type II films where grain response is highlighted. A comparison of the mean relaxation time of the two films revealed three orders of magnitude higher relaxation time in the case of type I films. Due to smaller grain size in type I films the grains were considered to be completely depleted giving rise to only grain boundary response for the bulk of the film. The activation energy obtained from conductivity plots agree very well with that of dc measurements giving values 1.3 and 1.07 eV for type I and type II films, respectively. Since oxygen vacancy transport have been identified as the origin of resistance degradation in BST thin films, type I films with their higher value of activation energy for oxygen ion mobility explains the improvement in breakdown characteristics under constant high dc field stress. The role of microstructure in controlling the rate of degradation is found useful in this instance to enhance the film properties under high electric field stresses.
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