Combinatorial Nitrogen Gradients in Sputtered Thin Films

Yanbing Han, Bethany Matthews, Dennice Roberts, Kevin R. Talley, Sage R. Bauers, Craig Perkins, Qun Zhang, Andriy Zakutayev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus Citations


High-throughput synthesis and characterization methods can significantly accelerate the rate of experimental research. For physical vapor deposition (PVD), these methods include combinatorial sputtering with intentional gradients of metal/metalloid composition, temperature, and thickness across the substrate. However, many other synthesis parameters still remain out of reach for combinatorial methods. Here, we extend combinatorial sputtering parameters to include gradients of gaseous elements in thin films. Specifically, a nitrogen gradient was generated in a thin film sample library by placing two MnTe sputtering sources with different gas flows (Ar and Ar/N2) opposite of one another during the synthesis. The nitrogen content gradient was measured along the sample surface, correlating with the distance from the nitrogen source. The phase, composition, and optoelectronic properties of the resulting thin films change as a function of the nitrogen content. This work shows that gradients of gaseous elements can be generated in thin films synthesized by sputtering, expanding the boundaries of combinatorial science.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)436-442
Number of pages7
JournalACS Combinatorial Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2018 American Chemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-71391


  • combinatorial sputtering
  • high-throughput experiments
  • physical vapor deposition
  • spatially resolved characterization
  • thin film


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