Structural studies of pulsed-laser deposited nanocomposite metal-oxide films

R. Serna*, J. Gonzalo, A. Suárez-García, C. N. Afonso, J. P. Barnes, A. K. Petford-Long, R. C. Doole, D. Hole

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Pulsed laser deposition in vacuum has been used to develop metal-oxide nanocomposite films with well controlled structural quality. Results for the copper-aluminium oxide (Cu:Al2O3) system are used to illustrate the main morphological and structural features of these films. High resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis shows that the films consist of Cu nanocrystals with average dimensions that can be controlled between 2 nm and 10 nm embedded in an amorphous Al2O3 matrix. It is observed that the in-plane shape of the nanocrystals evolves from circular to elongated, and the number of nanocrystals per unit area decreases as their size increases. This evolution is explained in terms of nucleation at the substrate surface and coalescence during the later stages of growth. The thermal stability of the films has been studied by in situ TEM annealing and no transformation could be observed up to about 800°C when partial crystallization of the Al2O3 starts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-255
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Microscopy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • AlO
  • Cu
  • Electron microscopy
  • Metal nanocrystals
  • Nanocomposite thin films
  • Pulsed laser deposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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