Radiation induced cavity formation and gold precipitation at the interfaces of a ZrO2/SiO2/Si heterostructure

Philip D. Edmondson, Chongmin Wang, Zihua Zhu, Fereydoon Namavar, William J. Weber, Yanwen Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Thin films nano-crystalline zirconia of ∼ 300 nm thick were deposited on Si substrate, and the samples were irradiated with 2 MeV Au+ ions at temperatures of 160 and 400 K, up to fluences of 35 displacements per atom. The films were then studied using glancing incidence x-ray diffraction, Rutherford backscattering, secondary ion mass spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy. During the irradiation, cavities were observed to form at the zirconia/silicon interface. The morphology of the cavities was found to be related to the damage state of the underlying Si substrate. Elongated cavities were observed when the substrate is heavily damaged but not amorphized; however, when the substrate is rendered amorphous, the cavities become spherical. As the ion dose increases, the cavities then act as efficient gettering sites for the Au. The concentration of oxygen within the cavities determines the order in which the cavities getter. Following complete filling of the cavities, the interface acts as the secondary gettering site for the Au. The Au precipitates are determined to be elemental in nature due to the high binding free energy for the formation of Au-silicides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvanced Materials for Applications in Extreme Environments
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event2010 MRS Fall Meeting - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: Nov 29 2010Dec 3 2010

Publication series

NameMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0272-9172


Conference2010 MRS Fall Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston, MA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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