ZrNx thin films are prepared by reactive dc magnetron sputtering. The detailed evolution of atomic ratio, phase, preferred orientation and electrical property of the thin films is systematically studied with deposition temperature and film thickness by four-point probe, Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy, electron probe microanalysis and X-ray diffraction. It is found that deposition temperature can vary oxygen incorporation and composition in the growing film. Most importantly, the 200 texture coefficient can be effectively enhanced by increasing deposition temperature, which results in lower resistivity. By investigating the thickness effect, we find that while deposition rate and composition remain the same during deposition, films tend to be more 111 oriented with thickness up to about 200nm and hence resistivity increases accordingly. The different influences on the preferred orientation between deposition temperature and film thickness are explained by surface energy and strain energy minimization.
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