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Compositional Determination of Sputtered Tantalum–Aluminum Thin Films

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Tantalum–aluminum thin film composition has been determined destructively by atomic absorption and nondestructively by x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. Samples representing several compositions (20–80 at.% aluminum) and thicknesses (500–6000 Å) were sputtered on glass, graphite, and platinum substrates. The films were dissolved from the platinum substrates for the determination of aluminum by atomic absorption. The weights of tantalum per unit area obtained by difference using this destructive technique were applied to the same samples on glass substrates for correlation with nondestructive x-ray fluorescence measurements. A linear curve, which is free from enhancement and absorption effects, is obtained for tantalum. This curve relates the nondestructive fluorescence intensities to film weights (μg/cm2) of tantalum. The composition of the film is determined nondestructively by utilizing this curve and the total film weight which is obtained by weighing the substrate before and after sputtering. Alternately, composition may be determined destructively by atomic absorption utilizing films dissolved from platinum substrates.

Keywords: Atomic absorption; Thin films; X-ray fluorescence

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Engineering Research Center, Western Electric Company, Incorporated, Princeton, New Jersey 08540

Publication date: July 1, 1971

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