Indexed on: 28 Dec '16Published on: 28 Dec '16Published in: Langmuir
Molybdenum (Mo) thin films (thickness < 100 nm) were physically deposited by e-beam evaporation on a porous alumina substrate and were analyzed for their stability and reactivity under various thermal and gas conditions. The Mo thin-film composites were stable below 300 ˚C but had no reactivity towards gases. Mo thin films showed nitrogen incorporation on the surface as well as in the subsurface at 450 ˚C, confirmed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The reactivity toward nitrogen was diminished in the presence of CO2, although no carbon species were detected either on the surface or in the subsurface. The Mo thin films have a very stable native oxide layer, which may further oxidize to higher oxidation states above 500 ˚C due to the reaction with the porous anodized alumina substrate. The oxidation of Mo thin films was accelerated in the presence of oxidizing gases. At 600 ˚C in N2, the Mo thin film on anodized alumina was completely oxidized and may also have been volatilized. The results imply that choosing thermally stable and inactive porous supports and operating in non-oxidizing conditions below 500 ˚C will likely maintain the stability of the Mo composite. This study provides key information about the chemical and structural stability of a Mo thin film on a porous substrate for future membrane applications, and offers further insights into the integrity of thin-film composites when exposed to harsh conditions.