The variation of oxygen concentration in the Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) structure highly impacts its electrical and optical characteristics. In this work, we investigated the effect of oxygen partial flow (O2/O2+Ar) and deposition pressure (p) on the refractive index (n) of reactive sputtered ITO thin films. A statistical study with a Genetic Algorithm (GA) optimization was implemented to find optimal deposition conditions for obtaining particular refractive indices. Several samples of ITO thin films with refractive indices ranging from 1.69 - 2.1 were deposited by DC sputtering technique at various oxygen concentrations and deposition pressures, in order to develop the statistical database. A linear polynomial surface was locally fitted to the data of O2/O2+Ar, p, and n of deposited films. This surface was then used as the fitness function of the GA. By defining the desired n as the objective value of the GA, the optimized deposition conditions can be found. Two cases were experimentally demonstrated, with the GA determining the needed process parameters to deposit ITO with n=2.2 and n=1.6. Measured results were very close to desired values, with n=2.25 and n=1.62, demonstrating the effectiveness of this method for predicting needed reactive sputtering conditions to enable arbitrary refractive indices.
Elnaz Afshari Pour and Cyrus Shafai, "Tailoring the refractive index of ITO thin films by genetic algorithm optimization of the reactive DC-sputtering parameters," Proc. SPIE 10105, Oxide-based Materials and Devices VIII, 101050I (Presented at SPIE OPTO: January 30, 2017; Published: 24 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2251562.
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