García-Valenzuela, A., Butterling, M., Liedke, M.O., Hirschmann, E., Trinh, T.T., Attallah, A.G., Wagner, A., Alvarez, R., Gil-Rostra, J., Rico, V., Palmero, A., González-Elipe, A.R.

Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, 295 (2020) 109968

DOI: 10.1016/j.micromeso.2019.109968

The nano-porosity embedded into the tilted and separated nanocolumns characteristic of the microstructure of evaporated thin films at oblique angles has been critically assessed by various variants of the positron annihilation spectroscopy. This technique represents a powerful tool for the analysis of porosity, defects and internal interfaces of materials, and has been applied to different as-deposited SiO2 and TiO2 thin films as well as SiO2/TiO2 multilayers prepared by electron beam evaporation at 70° and 85° zenithal angles. It is shown that, under same deposition conditions, the concentration of internal nano-pores in SiO2 is higher than in TiO2 nanocolumns, while the situation is closer to this latter in TiO2/SiO2 multilayers. These features have been compared with the predictions of a Monte Carlo simulation of the film growth and explained by considering the influence of the chemical composition on the growth mechanism and, ultimately, on the structure of the films.

Positron annihilation analysis of nanopores and growth mechanism of oblique angle evaporated TiO2 and SiO2 thin films and multilayers