Effect of Thermal Annealing on the Surface Morphology of Functional Coatings for Displays Studied by means of AFM

Molybdenum oxide layers are used as low-reflective interlayers in display applications. The optical properties of the coating are crucial for the performance of the device, but may change due to temperature effects during the production of the displays. Atomic force microscopy was used to characterize the morphology and surface roughness of such films, deposited on glass and annealed at 450 °C in vacuum.

Introduction

Atomic force microscopes (AFMs) use a sharp probe to scan along the sample surface and acquire high resolution images of surface topography. Compared to other imaging techniques e.g. SEM, AFMs provide high resolution not only in x-y direction, but also in z direction, offering true 3D images of surface topography.

In this report we use Tosca, a high-end, highly automated atomic force microscope developed by Anton Paar, to image a SiC (silicon carbide) sample which shows atomic steps in sub-nanometer range.

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