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Wells, Matthew P.; Bower, Ryan; Kilmurray, Rebecca; Zou, Bin; Mihai, Andrei P.; Gobalakrichenane, Gomathi; Alford, Neil; Oulton, Rupert F. M.; Cohen, Lesley F.; Maier, Stefan A.; Zayats, Anatoly; Petrov, Peter K. (2018): Temperature stability of thin film refractory plasmonic materials. In: Optics Express, Vol. 26, No. 12: pp. 15726-15744
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Abstract

Materials such as W, TiN, and SrRuO3 (SRO) have been suggested as promising alternatives to Au and Ag in plasmonic applications owing to their stability at high operational temperatures. However, investigation of the reproducibility of the optical properties after thermal cycling between room and elevated temperatures is so far lacking. Here, thin films of W, Mo, Ti, TiN, TiON, Ag, Au, SrRuO3 and SrNbO3 are investigated to assess their viability for robust refractory plasmonic applications. These results are further compared to the performance of SrMoO3 reported in literature. Films ranging in thickness from 50 to 105 nm are deposited on MgO, SrTiO3 and Si substrates by e-beam evaporation, RF magnetron sputtering and pulsed laser deposition, prior to characterisation by means of AFM, XRD, spectroscopic ellipsometry, and DC resistivity. Measurements are conducted before and after annealing in air at temperatures ranging from 300 to 1000 degrees C for one hour, to establish the maximum cycling temperature and potential longevity at elevated temperatures for each material. It is found that SrRuO3 retains metallic behaviour after annealing at 800 degrees C, while SrNbO3 undergoes a phase transition resulting in a loss of metallic behaviour after annealing at 400 degrees C. Importantly, the optical properties of TiN and TiON are degraded as a result of oxidation and show a loss of metallic behaviour after annealing at 500 degrees C, while the same is not observed in Au until annealing at 600 degrees C. Nevertheless, both TiN and TiON may be better suited than Au or SRO for high temperature applications operating under vacuum conditions. Published by The Optical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.