Radio Frequency Sputter Deposition of Epitaxial Nanocrystalline Nd1-xSrxCoO3 Thin Films

In this paper we report the deposition of epitaxial thin films of Nd1-xSrxCoO3 with x = 0, 0.2, and 0.5 on single-crystalline substrates (SrTiO3 and LaAlO3) carried out by means of rf-magnetron sputtering. The deposited films are all completely oriented and epitaxial and characterized by a nanocrystalline morphology. As-deposited films have an average roughness around 1 nm while after the thermal treatment this increases up to 20 nm while preserving the nanocrystalline morphology. All the films deposited on SrTiO3 have shown to be under a certain degree of tensile strain while those on the LaAlO3 experience a compressive strain, thus suggesting that at about 50 nm the films are not fully relaxed, even after the thermal treatment. For the x = 0.2 composition three different thicknesses have been investigated, revealing an increased strain for the thinner films.