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Structural and Mechanical Study of CeO2/TiO2 Mixed Metal Oxide Thin Films

Patel, Shyam Bharatkumar (2018) Structural and Mechanical Study of CeO2/TiO2 Mixed Metal Oxide Thin Films. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Thin films are well researched in the field of materials science and engineering. Modern thin films have proven to be versatile as they have been developed and modified to attain films with special properties such as high hardness values, improved photovoltaic and photocatalytic properties to name a few. Thin films that exhibit a wide range of exceptional properties are sought after as they could be the solution to a wide range of global challenges.

CeO2/TiO2 mixed metal oxide (MMO) films are capable of showing a wide range of excellent properties and relevant applications such as photovoltaic and photocatalytic capabilities. However, the mechanical properties of these films are not well researched. This study intends to link the Ce-Ti percentage to the mechanical and structural properties of MMO films by studying them at the fundamental atomic level.

The Magnetron sputtered CeO2/TiO2 MMO films were studied using advanced characterization techniques. High temperature in-situ X-ray diffraction (XRD) was conducted to identify and investigate the stability of the oxides present in the films whilst X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) was used to find the bonding states within the film. The surface morphology was investigated using a field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM). The mechanical properties such as hardness and Young’s modulus were determined using nanoindentation tests, whilst the stresses within the film were visualized with the aid of finite element modeling (FEM).

The material characterization indicates the presence of a primary α-Ce2O3 phase in samples containing cerium, whilst a rutile form of TiO2 was found for samples containing TiO2. The mechanical test results of the pure CeOx film show a hardness value as high as 20.1 GPa. The FEM results indicate the stress distribution and is implemented to obtain models of several thin film and substrate combinations.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Jiang, Zhong-Tao
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