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Research Area – Synthesis by Sputtering Deposition and Crystal Growth

Research Area: Synthesis by Crystal Growth


PGI-5 has long-standing experience in preparing high-quality single crystals of metals and alloys. Current research mainly concerns complex metallic alloys (CMAs), which at present represent a field of high interest in materials science. The preparation of these alloys, which is often the basis of internal projects in the areas of physical property determination, plasticity and defects, surface physics and phase diagrams, also represents an important service offered by the department, within the framework of international co-operations.

Research activities include the development of single-crystal growth and materials production techniques for a multitude of complex metallic alloys, various quasi-crystalline phases, as well as other metallic systems, and is conducted side by side with fundamental phase diagram and solidification studies.

The focus of research in the field of complex metallic alloys is on physical property determination, with in-house activity centred on the investigation of mechanical properties and structural defects. For these purposes, state-of-the-art techniques in crystal growth are applied together with mechanical testing and materials characterization. Regarding the latter, conventional imaging methods in transmission electron microscopy are complemented by in-situ, convergent beam and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy measurements

Research Area: Synthesis by Sputtering Deposition Technology


PGI-5 has significantly contributed to the development of high pressure sputtering deposition technology since 1987. Correspondingly-designed systems are used for the fabrication of epitaxial thin films and multilayers of oxide materials. Using oxygen under unusually high pressure (around 3 mbar), resputtering due to negatively charged oxygen ions is avoided.  In this way, a stoichiometric material transfer from the target to the substrate, which is heated to about 1000°C, is achieved.

High quality thin films recently deposited using the above systems cover

  • high-Tc superconductors (YBaCuO, ReBaCuO (Re = Nd, Gd, Ho, Eu), BiSrCaCuO, BiSrCaCuO, (Ba,K)BiO, Nd(Ce,Sr)CuO, and (Tl,Pb)CaCuO),
  • insulators (PrBaCuO, SrTiO, LaAlO, BaTbO, BaZrO, CeO, NdCaAlO, MgO, YO, YSZ, and ZnO),
  • ferroelectrics (BaTiO, PZT, LaTiO, as well as
  • magnetic oxides and CMR-materials ((La,Ca)MnO, (Pr,Sr)MnO, SrRuO, and SrCoO).

Currently, focal points in sputtering deposition technology under high pressure conditions include the fabrication of electroceramic and high-Tc superconductor thin film multilayer structures along with the application potential of Josephson junctions and superconducting quantum interferometer devices (dc-SQUIDs) used, for example, in the development of sensors and spectrometric devices.