X-ray investigation of Nb/O interfaces
Mélissa Delheusy (INSTN Salle B6)
co-tutelle CEA/IRFU/SACM –MPI/MF
Lundi 07/07/2008, 14:00
INSTN, CEA Paris-Saclay
X-ray free electron layers and the future International Linear Collider project are based on the performance of niobium superconducting rf cavities for efficient particle acceleration. A remarkable increase of the rf accelerating field is usually achieved by low-temperature annealing of the cavities (T<150°C, several hours). The microscopic origin of this effect has remained unclear; however, it has been argued that a redistribution of subsurface interstitial oxygen into niobium is involved. In this study, the near surface structure of oxidized niobium single crystals and its evolution upon vacuum annealing has been studied by means of non-destructive in-situ surface sensitive x-ray techniques: x-ray reflectivity (XRR), grazing incidence x-ray diffraction (GIXD), diffuse scattering (GIDXS), crystal truncation rods measurements (CTRs), and high-resolution core-level spectroscopy (HRCLS). A first insight into the interplay between the oxide formation/dissolution and the occurrence of subsurface interstitial oxygen has been given. The natural oxide on Nb(110) and Nb(100) surfaces is constituted of Nb2O5, NbO2 and NbO, from the surface to the interface. It reduces progressively upon heating from Nb2O5 to NbO2 at low temperatures, and to NbO at 300°C. The Nb(110)/NbO(111) interface presents a Nishiyma-Wasserman epitaxial orientation relationship. The depth-distribution of interstitial oxygen has been established indicating that most of the oxygen is located in the direct vicinity of the oxide/niobium interface. No evidence of oxygen depletion below the oxide layer has been observed for the low temperature thermal treatments and surface preparations investigated in this study.
Keywords : X-ray scattering, synchrotron radiation, subsurface interstitial oxygen, surface structure, niobium oxides, XRR, GIXD, diffuse scattering, HRCLS.