In this work, we study the spectral reflectance of VO2 thin films and identify the specific contributions of the morphology and phase transition to optical spectra. The formation of highly [011] textured VO2 thin films on Si was achieved by an oxidation process starting with a metallic V thin film grown on an [001] Si substrate by an evaporation technique. Structural (XRD and Raman) and spectroscopic (XPS) characterization results indicate high purity VO2 formation with different sizes at various annealing temperatures without any change in the composition. Temperature dependent spectral reflectance distributions reveal that the insulator-to-metal transition (IMT) phase transition temperature of the VO2 nanostructures shows a slight size-dependence (∼3 °C), but this feature can be overshadowed by morphology that can lead to the misinterpretation of transition characteristics. The spectral line shape of the reflectance curves in the visible and near-infrared regions show substantially different characteristics for the samples annealed at different temperatures. Using numerical scattering calculations, we conclude that the changes in the optical response can be explained by morphological effects instead of changes in the intrinsic material properties such as a shift in the IMT temperature. Furthermore, the main mechanism leading to different spectral line shapes is the morphological differences leading to diffuse and specular reflectance.

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