The authors investigate sputtering of a Ti3SiC2 compound target at temperatures ranging from RT (no applied external heating) to 970 °C as well as the influence of the sputtering power at 850 °C for the deposition of Ti3SiC2 films on Al2O3(0001) substrates. Elemental composition obtained from time-of-flight energy elastic recoil detection analysis shows an excess of carbon in all films, which is explained by differences in the angular distribution between C, Si, and Ti, where C scatters the least during sputtering. The oxygen content is 2.6 at. % in the film deposited at RT and decreases with increasing deposition temperature, showing that higher temperatures favor high purity films. Chemical bonding analysis by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy shows C–Ti and Si–C bonding in the Ti3SiC2 films and Si–Si bonding in the Ti3SiC2 compound target. X-ray diffraction reveals that the phases Ti3SiC2, Ti4SiC3, and Ti7Si2C5 can be deposited from a Ti3SiC2 compound target at substrate temperatures above 850 °C and with the growth of TiC and the Nowotny phase Ti5Si3Cx at lower temperatures. High-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy shows epitaxial growth of Ti3SiC2, Ti4SiC3, and Ti7Si2C5 on TiC at 970 °C. Four-point probe resistivity measurements give values in the range ∼120 to ∼450 μΩ cm and with the lowest values obtained for films containing Ti3SiC2, Ti4SiC3, and Ti7Si2C5.

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