R. Alvarez, J.M. Garcia-Martin, A. Garcia-Valenzuela, M. Macias-Montero, F.J. Ferrer, J. Santiso, V. Rico, J. Cotrino, A.R. González-Elipe, A. Palmero
Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics 49, 045303 (2016)
The growth of Ti thin films by the magnetron sputtering technique at oblique angles and at room temperature is analysed from both experimental and theoretical points of view. Unlike other materials deposited in similar conditions, the nanostructure development of the Ti layers exhibits an anomalous behaviour when varying both the angle of incidence of the deposition flux and the deposition pressure. At low pressures, a sharp transition from compact to isolated, vertically aligned, nanocolumns is obtained when the angle of incidence surpasses a critical threshold. Remarkably, this transition also occurs when solely increasing the deposition pressure under certain conditions. By the characterization of the Ti layers, the realization of fundamental experiments and the use of a simple growth model, we demonstrate that surface mobilization processes associated to a highly directed momentum distribution and the relatively high kinetic energy of sputtered atoms are responsible for this behaviour.