J. Toudert, D. Babonneau, S. Camelio, T. Girardeau, F. Yubero, J.P. Espinós, A.R. González-Elipe
Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 40 (2007) 4614–4620
doi: 10.1088/0022-3727/40/15/038

The present study is devoted to co-deposited Ag : BN nanocermet thin films and is focused on the influence of ion irradiation conditions on their structural and linear optical properties. Ion irradiation was performed in situ during the growth of the nanocermets using a 50 eV assistance beam (nitrogen/argon or nitrogen-ion assistance) and ex situ on as-grown films using a 120 keV argon-ion beam (post-irradiation). Grazing incidence small-angle x-ray scattering measurements show that (i) as-grown N-assisted films contain prolate spheroidal clusters (height-to-diameter ratio H/D ≈ 1.8), (ii) N/Ar-ion assistance leads to the formation of more elongated clusters (H/D≈ 2.1) and (iii) post-irradiation leads to a decrease of H/D to a value close to 1. These results are discussed on the basis of atomic diffusion processes involved during the growth of the nanocermets and during the post-irradiation. The optical transmittance spectra of these films measured at normal incidence display one absorption band, due to the excitation of the (1,1) plasmon mode of the clusters. In the case of the as-grown films, an additional band appears at oblique incidence for P-polarized light, as a consequence of the excitation of the (1,0) plasmon mode of the clusters. Our results show that the spectral position of the absorption bands (which can be tuned in the 400–600 nm range) depends on the H/D ratio of the clusters, in good agreement with calculations of optical transmittance considering the nanocomposite layer as a uniaxial anisotropic medium whose dielectric tensor is described by an anisotropic Maxwell–Garnett model.

Using ion beams to tune the nanostructure and optical response of co-deposited Ag : BN thin films