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Langmuir. 2010 Mar 16;26(6):4368-76. doi: 10.1021/la903444e.

Surface area characterization of obliquely deposited metal oxide nanostructured thin films.

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Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2V4.


The glancing angle deposition (GLAD) technique is used to fabricate nanostructured thin films with high surface area. Quantifying this property is important for optimizing GLAD-based device performance. Our group has used high-sensitivity krypton gas adsorption and the complementary technique of cyclic voltammetry to measure surface area as a function of deposition angle, thickness, and morphological characteristics for several metal oxide thin films. In this work, we studied amorphous titanium dioxide (TiO(2)), amorphous silicon dioxide (SiO(2)), and polycrystalline indium tin oxide (ITO) nanostructures with vertical and helical post morphologies over a range of oblique deposition angles from 0 to 86 degrees. Krypton gas sorption isotherms, evaluated using the Brunauer-Emmettt-Teller (BET) method, revealed maximum surface area enhancements of 880 +/- 110, 980 +/- 125, and 210 +/- 30 times the footprint area (equivalently 300 +/- 40, 570 +/- 70, and 50 +/- 6 m(2) g(-1)) for vertical posts TiO(2), SiO(2), and ITO. We also applied the cyclic voltammetry technique to these ITO films and observed the same overall trends as seen with the BET method. In addition, we applied the BET method to the measurement of helical films and found that the surface area trend was shifted with respect to that of vertical post films. This revealed the important influence of the substrate rotation rate and film morphology on surface properties. Finally, we showed that the surface area scales linearly with film thickness, with slopes of 730 +/- 35 to 235 +/- 10 m(2) m(-2) microm(-1) found for titania vertical post films deposited at angles from 70 to 85 degrees. This characterization effort will allow for the optimization of solar, photonic, and sensing devices fabricated from thin metal oxide films using GLAD.


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