Vanadium carbide (VC) thin films were deposited on silicon substrates by direct sputtering of a VC target in an argon atmosphere. The structure, composition, and electrical properties of the films were investigated as functions of deposition conditions. The crystallographic structure of the film was strongly related to the argon pressure. VC films with (111) preferred orientation were formed at 2.0 Pa regardless of the substrate temperature examined, while amorphous films were obtained at the lowest pressure of 0.5 Pa. It was shown that carbon segregation within the film was difficult to avoid, but could be suppressed to some degree. To make a full understanding of the compositional variation in compound target sputtering process, deposition of chromium carbide thin films was also performed. Some common mechanisms involved in compound target sputtering process were discussed. Field emission measurements revealed that the VC film is a good electron emitter.

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