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A Reflection Electron Diffraction Study on Some Metal Oxide Solar Collector Coatings: Part I

Research Area: Nanofabrication Year: 1984
Type of Publication: Article Keywords: reflection electron diffraction, structural analysis, photothermal collector coating
Authors: Axel Scherer; O. T. Inal
Journal: Thin Solid Films Volume: 119
Number: 4 Pages: 413-428
Month: September
The capability of reflection electron diffraction (RED) in the structural analysis of thin films is shown with studies made on copper oxide, zinc oxide, black chrome and cobalt oxide solar-selective coatings. The growth of copper oxide layers could be observed as changing from an initial epitaxial growth to random orientation followed by growth of oxide needles. The resulting copper oxide coating was found to consist of a needle structure of cupric oxide formed on a smooth cuprous oxide layer. In the zinc oxide overgrowths, epitaxial growth could not be observed, and the coating consisted of relatively small zinc oxide crystallites throughout the film. No crystalline zinc inclusions could be found in this layer. Black chrome deposited onto nickel showed an increase in chromium oxide with distance from the substrate, although no change in the orientation of the microcrystalline chrome could be observed. The formation of black cobalt was also investigated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and reflection diffraction analysis. The plated cobalt overgrowths were found to change from an initially smooth nodular coating to a plate-like oxide layer with heat treatment time. This latter layer could be indexed to cobalt(II, III) oxide. The study conclusively shows that RED, combined with SEM and ion milling procedures, can indeed lead to structural characterization of thin films without the need for their removal from their substrates and the concominant introduction of artifacts.
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