Controlling Phase Purity and Texture of K0.5Na0.5NbO3 Thin Films by Aqueous Chemical Solution Deposition
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Aqueous chemical solution deposition (CSD) of lead-free ferroelectric K0.5Na0.5NbO3 (KNN) thin films has a great potential for cost-effective and environmentally friendly components in microelectronics. Phase purity of KNN is, however, a persistent challenge due to the volatility of alkali metal oxides, usually countered by using excess alkali metals in the precursor solutions. Here, we report on the development of two different aqueous precursor solutions for CSD of KNN films, and we demonstrate that the decomposition process during thermal processing of the films is of detrimental importance for promoting nucleation of KNN and suppressing the formation of secondary phases. Based on thermal analysis, X-ray diffraction and IR spectroscopy of films as well as powders prepared from the solutions, it was revealed that the decomposition temperature can be controlled by chemistry resulting in phase pure KNN films. A columnar microstructure with out-of-plane texturing was observed in the phase pure KNN films, demonstrating that the microstructure is directly coupled to the thermal processing of the films.