Effect of dry air on interface smoothening in reactive sputter deposited Co/Ti multilayer

A. Biswas, A. Porwal, Debarati Bhattacharya, C. L. Prajapat, Arnab Ghosh, Mangla Nand, C. Nayak, S. Rai, S. N. Jha, M. R. Singh, D. Bhattacharyya, S. Basu, N. K. Sahoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Top surface roughness and interface roughness are one of the key elements which determine the performance of X-ray and neutron thin film multilayer devices. It has been observed that by mixing air with argon in sputtering ambience during deposition of Co layers, polarized neutron reflectivity (PNR) of Co/Ti supermirror polarizers can be improved substantially. Cross-sectional HRTEM measurement reveals that sharper interfaces in the supermirror can be achieved in case of deposition of the multilayer under mixed ambience of argon and air. In order to investigate this interface modification mechanism further, in this communication two sets of tri-layer Co/Ti/Co samples and 20-layer Co/Ti periodic multilayer samples have been prepared; in one set all the layers are deposited only under argon ambience and in the other set, Co layers are deposited under a mixed ambience of argon and air. These samples have been characterized by measuring specular and non-specular X-ray reflectivities (GIXR) with X-rays of 1.54 Å wavelength and polarized neutron reflectivity (PNR) with neutron of 2.5 Å wavelength at grazing angle of incidence. It has been observed that the X-ray and neutron specular reflectivities at Bragg peaks of 20 layer periodic multilayer increase when Co layers are deposited under mixed ambience of argon and air. The detail information regarding the effect of air on the interfaces and magnetic properties has been obtained by fitting the measured spectra. The above information has subsequently been supplemented by XRD and magnetic measurements on the samples. XPS and XANES measurements have also been carried out to investigate whether cobalt oxide or cobalt nitride layers are being formed due to use of air in sputtering ambience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-177
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Surface Science
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Interface roughness
  • Magnetic Multilayer
  • PNR
  • Supermirror


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