Sputtering, Thin Films, High Temperature, SiC, BN, SiCBN, Photodetector, XPS, Widebandgap


The increasing demand for efficient energy systems in the last decade has brought about the development of advanced sensor systems that utilize advance detection methods to help in preventive maintenance of these essential systems. These usually are needed in hard to access environments where conditions are extreme and unfit for human interaction. Thin film based sensors deposited directly on the surfaces exposed to harsh environments can serve as ideal means of measuring the temperature of the component during operation. They provide the basic advantage of proximity to the surface and hence accurate measurement of the surface temperature. The low mass size ratio provides the additional advantage of least interference to system operation. The four elements consisting of Si, C, B, and N can be used to form binary, ternary and quaternary compounds like carbides, nitrides, which are chemically and thermally stable with extreme hardness, thermal conductivity and can be doped n- and p-type. Hence these compounds can be potential candidates for high temperature applications. This research is focused on studying sputtering as a candidate to obtain thin SiCBN films. The deposition and characterization of amorphous thin films of silicon boron carbon nitride (SiCBN) is reported. The SiCBN thin films were deposited in a radio frequency (rf) magnetron sputtering system using reactive co-sputtering of silicon carbide (SiC) and boron nitride (BN) targets. Films of different compositions were deposited by varying the ratios of argon and nitrogen gas in the sputtering ambient. Investigation of the oxidation kinetics of these materials was performed to study high temperature compatibility of the material. Surface characterization of the deposited films was performed using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and optical profilometry. Studies reveal that the chemical state of the films is highly sensitive to nitrogen flow ratios during sputtering. Surface analysis shows that smooth and uniform SiCBN films can be produced using this technique. Carbon and nitrogen content in the films seem to be sensitive to annealing temperatures. However depth profile studies reveal certain stoichiometric compositions to be stable after high temperature anneal up to 900ºC. Electrical and optical characteristics are also investigated with interesting results. Finally a metal semiconductor metal structure based optoelectronic device is demonstrated with excellent performance improvement over standard silicon based devices under higher temperature conditions.


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Graduation Date





Sundaram, Kalpathy B.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Degree Program

Electrical Engineering








Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)