Ion beam assisted deposition (IBAD) technique had widely used for improving stacking density and atomic mobility of thin films in many applications, especially adopted in optical film industries. Tantalum pentaoxide (Ta2O5) and silicon oxides (SiO2) optical thin films were deposited on the quartz glass substrate by using argon ion beam assisted deposition, and the influences of the residual argon gas and thermal annealing processes on the optical property, stress, compositional and microstructure evolution of the thin films were investigated in this study.
Ta2O5 thin films were analyzed by XPS indicated that the ratio value of oxygen to tantalum was insufficient, at the same time, the residual argon gas in the thin films might result in film and device instabilities. Adopting oxygen-thermal annealing treatment at the temperature of 425°C, the thin films not only decreased the residual argon gas and the surface roughness, but also provided the sufficient stoichiometric ratio. Simultaneously, microstructure examination indicated few nano-crystallized structures and voids existed in Ta2O5 thin films, and possessed reasonable refractive index and lower extinction coefficient. By the way, we also suggested the IBAD system using the film compositional gas ion beam to replace the argon ion beam for assisting deposited optical films. The designed (HL)6H6LH(LH)6 multi-layers indicated higher insertion loss than the designed (HL)68H(LH)6 multi-layers. Therefore, using the high refractive index as spacer material represented lower insertion loss.