American Chemical Society
jp1c10521_si_001.pdf (33.4 MB)

Influence of Crystal Structure, Encapsulation, and Annealing on Photochromism in Nd Oxyhydride Thin Films

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-01-24, 20:33 authored by Diana Chaykina, Fahimeh Nafezarefi, Giorgio Colombi, Steffen Cornelius, Lars J. Bannenberg, Herman Schreuders, Bernard Dam
Thin films of rare earth metal oxyhydrides show a photochromic effect, the precise mechanism of which is yet unknown. Here, we made thin films of NdH3–2xOx and show that we can change the band gap, crystal structure, and photochromic contrast by tuning the composition (O2–:H) via the sputtering deposition pressure. To protect these films from rapid oxidation, we add a thin ALD coating of Al2O3, which increases the lifetime of the films from 1 day to several months. Encapsulation of the films also influences photochromic bleaching, changing the time dependency from first-order kinetics. As well, the partial annealing which occurs during the ALD process results in a dramatically slower bleaching speed, revealing the importance of defects for the reversibility (bleaching speed) of photochromism.