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Low-temperature Crystallization and Paraelectric-ferroelectric Phase Transformation in Nanoscale ZrO2 Thin Films Induced by Atomic Layer Plasma Treatment

Abstract

In recent years, Hf/ZrO2-based thin films have emerged as promising candidates for ferroelectric materials in various applications. However, achieving ferroelectricity with a low-temperature process has remained a challenging task. In this study, the atomic layer plasma treatment (ALPT) technique, where an in-situ Ar plasma treatment is introduced into each atomic layer deposition (ALD) cycle, was used to achieve crystallization and ferroelectricity in as-deposited ZrO2 thin films at a low temperature of 250°C. The ALPT treatment effectively contributes to a high-temperature annealing effect, leading to enhanced crystallization and densification of the films. In addition, the ALPT process also induces a transformation from paraelectric to ferroelectric orthorhombic phase in as-deposited ZrO2 thin films, exhibiting a high ferroelectric switching polarization of 30 μC/cm2 along with great endurance characteristics up to 108 switching cycles. This study demonstrates that ALPT is a highly effective approach to enhance and tailor the crystallization and dielectric characteristics of nanoscale thin films at a low temperature, which is highly advantageous and demanded in a variety of applications and research fields encompassing nanoelectronic, energy storage, and biomedical devices.

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Article information


Submitted
30 Aug 2019
Accepted
26 Jan 2020
First published
31 Jan 2020

J. Mater. Chem. C, 2020, Accepted Manuscript
Article type
Paper

Low-temperature Crystallization and Paraelectric-ferroelectric Phase Transformation in Nanoscale ZrO2 Thin Films Induced by Atomic Layer Plasma Treatment

S. Yi, K. Huang, H. Lin and M. Chen, J. Mater. Chem. C, 2020, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C9TC04801D

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