Room temperature deposition of sputtered TiN films for superconducting coplanar waveguide resonators

TitleRoom temperature deposition of sputtered TiN films for superconducting coplanar waveguide resonators
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsOhya S, Chiaro B, Megrant A, Neill C, Barends R, Chen Y, Kelly J, Low D, Mutus J, O’Malley PJJ, Roushan P, Sank D, Vainsencher A, Wenner J, White TC, Yin Y, Schultz BD, Palmstrøm CJ, Mazin BA, Cleland AN, Martinis JM
JournalSuperconductor Science and Technology
AbstractWe present a systematic study of the properties of room temperature deposited TiN films by varying the deposition conditions in an ultra-high-vacuum reactive magnetron sputtering chamber. By increasing the deposition pressure from 2 to 9 mTorr while keeping a nearly stoichiometric composition of Ti 1− x N x ( x = 0.5) without substrate heating, the film resistivity increases, the dominant crystal orientation changes from (100) to (111), grain boundaries become clearer, and the strong compressive in-plane strain changes to weak tensile in-plane strain. The TiN films absorb a high concentration of contaminants including hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen when they are exposed to air after deposition. With the target–substrate distance set to 88 mm the contaminant levels increase from ∼0.1% to ∼10% as the pressure is increased from 2 to 9 mTorr. The contaminant concentrations also correlate with in-plane distance from the center of the substrate and increase by roughly two orders of magnitude as the target–substrate distance is increased from 88 to 266 mm. These contaminants are found to strongly influence the properties of TiN thin films. For instance, the resistivity of stoichiometric films increases by around a factor of 5 as the oxygen content increases from 0.1% to 11%. These results strongly suggest that the energy of the sputtered TiN particles plays a crucial role in determining the TiN film properties, and that it is important to precisely control the energy of these particles to obtain high-quality TiN films. Superconducting coplanar waveguide resonators made from a series of nearly stoichiometric films grown at pressures from 2 to 7 mTorr show a substantial increase in intrinsic quality factor from ∼10 4 to ∼10 6 as the magnitude of the compressive strain decreases from nearly 3800 MPa to approximately 150 MPa and the oxygen content increases from 0.1% to 8%. Surprisingly, the films with a higher oxygen content exhibit lower loss, but care must be taken when depositing at room temperature to avoid nonuniform oxygen incorporation, which presents as a radially dependent resistivity and becomes a radially dependent surface inductance in the superconductor.