This study reports on the physical and optical characterization of scandium oxide thin films. Thin films of scandium oxide, 20-40 nm thick, were deposited on silicon wafers, quartz slides, and silicon photodiodes by reactively sputtering scandium in an oxygen environment. These samples were characterized using ellipsometry, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, scanning transmission electron microscopy, and energy dispersive x-ray analysis. A 28.46 nm thick scandium oxide thin film was measured in the Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) from 2.7 to 50 nm (459.3 to 24.8 eV) using synchrotron radiation at the Advanced Light Source Beamline 6.3.2 at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In these measurements, a new method for data collection was used, in which the reflection and transmission data were collected simultaneously. Analysis of the EUV reflection and transmission data was performed using a front-side reflection, matrix-multiplication technique, which is novel among EUV analytical practice. During data analysis, a new weighting scheme was used, named "adaptive weighting". This analysis provides the first experimentally determined optical constants n and k for scandium oxide thin films from 4.5-30 nm. Also, the positions of the L2 and L3 electronic transitions of scandium oxide have been measured, at 3.069 and 3.101 nm (404.0 and 399.9 eV), respectively, while the measurements near the M transition suggest it to be at approximately 31.5 nm (39.4 eV). Comparing the electronic transition positions of scandium oxide to those of scandium show that the oxidation of scandium shifts the positions to lower energies. For L2 the shift is about 1.8 eV, for L3 the shift is about 1.4 eV, and for M the shift is about 1.9 eV. The binding energies of scandium oxide are greater than those of scandium, as is expected for an oxide compared to its parent metal. This trend in the shift of the transition positions is unexpected, and warrants further investigation.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Physics and Astronomy



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scandium, scandium oxide, thin films, EUV, oxides, reflection, transmission, optical constants, simultaneous reflection and transmission measurement, electronic transitions, binding energies