Effects of rapid thermal annealing on structural, chemical, and electrical characteristics of atomic-layer deposited lanthanum doped zirconium dioxide thin film on 4H-SiC substrate

Way Foong Lim, Hock Jin Quah, Qifeng Lu, Yifei Mu, Wan Azli Wan Ismail, Bazura Abdul Rahim, Siti Rahmah Esa, Yeh Yee Kee, Ce Zhou Zhao, Zainuriah Hassan, Kuan Yew Cheong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Effects of rapid thermal annealing at different temperatures (700-900 °C) on structural, chemical, and electrical characteristics of lanthanum (La) doped zirconium oxide (ZrO 2 ) atomic layer deposited on 4H-SiC substrates have been investigated. Chemical composition depth profiling analysis using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and cross-sectional studies using high resolution transmission electron microscopy equipped with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy line scan analysis were insufficient to justify the presence of La in the investigated samples. The minute amount of La present in the bulk oxide was confirmed by chemical depth profiles of time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry. The presence of La in the ZrO 2 lattice led to the formation of oxygen vacancies, which was revealed through binding energy shift for XPS O 1s core level spectra of Zr-O. The highest amount of oxygen vacancies in the sample annealed at 700 °C has yielded the acquisition of the highest electric breakdown field (∼ 6.3 MV/cm) and dielectric constant value (k = 23) as well as the highest current-time (I-t) sensor response towards oxygen gas. The attainment of both the insulating and catalytic properties in the La doped ZrO 2 signified the potential of the doped ZrO 2 as a metal reactive oxide on 4H-SiC substrate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-305
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Atomic layer deposition
  • Lanthanum doped zirconium oxide
  • Rapid thermal annealing
  • Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy

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