|Fabrication of artificially structured superlattices, when controlled on a nanoscale level, can exhibit enhanced dielectric properties over a wide temperature range. Possible fabrication of new functional devices based on the parametric values of dielectric constants of these heterostructures was the major motivation behind the work.
Chapter 1 gives a brief overview of ferroelectrics; their defining features and their commercial importance to electronic industry. An introduction to ferroelectric superlattices, their technological application and fundamental physics that influence the behavior of superlattices are provided.
Chapter 2 deals with the various experimental studies carried out in this research work. It gives the details of the experimental set up and the basic operation principles of various structural and physical characterizations of the materials prepared. A brief explanation of material fabrication, structural, micro structural and physical property measurements is discussed.
Chapter 3 involves fabrication of two-component ferroelectric superlattices consisting of Barium Titanate (BTO), and Strontium Titanate (STO) with nanoscale control of superlattice periodicities by high-pressure multi target pulsed laser deposition on Pt (111)/Ti/SiO2/Si (100) substrate. Superlattices with varying periodicities were fabricated and their compositional variation across the thin film and the interface width were studied using Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS). Fabrications of superlattice structure were supported by observation of satellite peaks in XRD corresponding to the coherent heterostructures. The microstructural analysis was carried out using cross-sectional scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and contact mode-AFM was used to image surface morphology and root-mean-square (rms) roughness of the thin film heterostructure.
Chapter 4 deals with ferroelectric studies of BTO/STO superlattices. The size dependent polarization behaviors of the superlattices are shown. The experimental realization of the dimensional range in which, the long-range coupling interaction dominates the overall polarization behavior of the system was studied. The dependence of average spontaneous polarization on the individual layer thickness, temperature and the dimensional range of interaction are discussed. The enhanced non-linear behaviors of the films were measured in terms of tunability. The dielectric phase transition behavior of superlattice structures of different periodicities was studied.
Chapter 5 focuses on fabrication of three-component ferroelectric superlattices consisting of Barium Titanate (BTO), Calcium Titanate (CTO) and Strontium Titanate (STO). The fabrications of superlattice structures were confirmed by the presence of satellite reflections in XRD analysis and a periodic concentration of Sr, Ba and Ca throughout the film in Depth profile of SIMS analysis. The microstructural analysis was carried out using cross-sectional scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and contact mode-AFM was used to image surface morphology and root-mean-square (rms) roughness of the thin film heterostructure.
The dielectric characteristic and polarization properties of the system are discussed. Large variations of lattice distortion in the consisting layers were achieved by varying the stacking sequence and superlattice periodicity. The influence of interfacial strain on enhancement of ferroelectric polarization was studied. The size dependence and the role of interfaces in the observed enhancements of the dielectric behaviors were highlighted. The tunability of about 55% was achieved in these systems and was higher than any of the single polycrystalline thin film of the constituent materials reported till date. The enhanced dielectric properties were thus discussed in terms of the interfacial strain driven polar region due to high lattice mismatch and electrostatic coupling due to polarization mismatch between individual layers.
Chapter 6 deals with the dielectric response, impedance spectroscopy and the DC leakage characteristics of the superlattice structures. All the heterostructures fabricated, exhibited low frequency dispersion, similar to that of the Jonscher’s universal type of relaxation behavior. The anomalous dispersion was observed in the imaginary dielectric constant at high frequencies. A Debye type relaxation behavior was observed in the impedance analysis at low temperatures, whereas, a departure from ideal ‘Debye’ type was noticed as the temperature was increased. The leakage currents of all the heterostructures were found to be a few orders less than the homogeneous single layer thin films. A space charge limited conduction was observed in al the superlattice structures fabricated.
Chapter 7 summarizes the present study and discusses about the future work that could give more insight into the understanding of the ferroelectric perovskite heterostructures.