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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Oct;974:565-80.

Vapor transport growth of organic solids in microgravity and unit gravity: some comparisons and results to date.

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Center for Microgravity and Materials Research, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, Alabama, USA.


Thin films of an organic nonlinear optical (NLO) material, N, N-dimethyl-p-(2,2-dicyanovinyl) aniline (DCVA), have been grown in space and on the ground by physical vapor transport in an effusive ampoule arrangement. The thin film growth technique developed on the ground is a direct result of information gleaned from experiments in microgravity. This paper covers the results of our experimental investigations for establishing "ideal" terrestrial conditions for deposition of a DCVA film. The active control during the deposition process was exercised by three deposition variables: the material source temperature, the background pressure external to the growth ampoule and the substrate temperature. Successful growth occurred when the difference in temperature between the source material and the copper substrate was 14 degrees C and the background nitrogen pressure was such that the transport was either diffusive or convective. A qualitative diffusion limited boundary was estimated to occur at a pressure of approximately 20 torr. We have probed the DCVA thin films with visible-near infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy, polarized Fourier transform infrared spectrometry, differential interference contrast optical microscopy, and stylus profilometry.

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