57 Fe Mössbauer study of epitaxial TiN thin film grown on MgO (1 0 0) by magnetron sputtering

the ISOLDE collaboration

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The properties and performance of TiN thin films are closely related to the concentration and mobility of lattice defects in the thin film structures of TiN. This makes a local atomic scale study of TiN thin films an ever-growing demand. Emission 57 Fe Mössbauer spectroscopy (eMS) is a powerful tool in this regard, which we apply here to study an ultrathin TiN film epitaxially grown on MgO (1 0 0). With the help of theoretical calculations, our results show that most implanted Fe ions adopt a 2 + valence state and locate at the Ti sublattice in the bulk-like single crystalline grains, with the rest Fe residing at the grain boundaries as interstitials. A small percentage of nitrogen point defects (vacancy V N and interstitial N I ) are observed in the bulk-like crystalline grains. A temperature-dependent, interstitial N I mediated site-exchange between N I and V N inside the crystal grain are deduced via a N 2 dimmer like diffusion of N I through the crystal grains in the temperature range of 540–620 K. This is interesting in the perspective of exploring the catalytic property of TiN nanostructures. The titanium vacancy (V Ti ) is only detected at the grain boundaries. Annealing up to 813 K, both the V N and N I are annihilated in the crystalline grains and the V Ti is fully recovered with healing of the grain boundaries. However, no evidence of ferromagnetism due to dilute implantation of 57 Mn/ 57 Fe and or structural defects in the film is obtained. This suggests that the so far reported dilute magnetism and defect-induced ferromagnetism in TiN nanostructures requires a further systematic investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-691
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.

Other keywords

  • Defects
  • Epitaxial thin film
  • Mössbauer spectroscopy
  • TiN


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