F.J. Garcia-Garcia, J. Gil-Rostra, A. Terriza, J.C. González, J. Cotrino, F. Frutos, F.J. Ferrer, A.R. González-Elipe, F. Yubero
Thin Solid Films, 542 (2013) 332-337
We have studied low refractive index fluorine doped silica thin films prepared by reactive magnetron sputtering. Two experimental parameters were varied to increase the porosity of the films, the geometry of the deposition process (i.e., the use of glancing angle deposition) and the presence of chemical etching agents (fluorine species) at the plasma discharge during film growth. The microstructure, chemistry, optical properties, and porosity of the films have been characterized by scanning electron and atomic force microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, UV–vis, and spectroscopic ellipsometry. It is found that either the deposition at glancing angles or the incorporation of CFx species in the plasma discharge during film growth produces a decrease in the refractive index of the deposited films. The combined effect of the two experimental approaches further enhances the porosity of the films. Finally, the films prepared in a glancing geometry exhibit negative uniaxial birefringence.