X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy investigation of MgAl204 thin films for humidity sensors

Giulia Mattoeno, Guido Righini, Giampiero Montesperelli, Enrico Traversa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


MgAl2O4 thin films, to be studied as active elements for humidity sensors, were deposited on Si/Si02 substrates by radio-frequency sputtering. This paper discusses the x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) investigation of these films. XPS demonstrated that the thin films had a stoichiometry close to that of MgAl2O 4. The evaluation of the modified Auger parameter affor A1 gave structural information about the order of the crystalline structure of the thin films. The combination of Ar+ ion etching and XPS analysis showed the simultaneous presence of Mg, Al, and Si at the film-substrate interface. The thicknesses of the interfaces were calculated between 7 and 10 nm. The analysis of the binding energy (b.e.) values of the XPS peaks at different etching depths showed that O 1s and Si 2p b.e. values were characteristic of a silicate at the interface, whereas in the substrate they were typical of silica. This suggests a chemical interaction took place between film and substrate with the formation of a silicate layer at the interface, which may be the cause of the good adhesion of MgAl2O 4 films to silica, as observed by peel tests with Scotch tape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1426-1433
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Materials Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1994

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Council of Italy (C.N.R.), under the auspices of the Targeted Project "Special Materials for Advanced Technologies". The authors thank Professor Angelo Montenero (University of Parma) for supplying the cordierite powder.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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