Analysis of electron states in nanometer-thin NiO layers grown by metallo-organic chemical vapor deposition on SiO2 or Al2O3 by means of spectroscopic ellipsometry and internal photoemission measurements points to the presence of a metal-like electron density, in correlation with the enhanced electrical conductivity of the films. These metallic states are suggested to be related to Ni clusters formed by partial reduction of NiO by hydrogen-containing by-products of the deposition reaction.

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