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Exploration of co-sputtered Ta₂O₅–ZrO₂ thin films for gravitational-wave detectors

M. Abernathy, A. Amato, A. Ananyeva, S. Angelova, Bill Baloukas, R. Bassiri, G. Billingsley, R. Birney, G. Cagnoli, M. Canepa, M. Coulon, J. Degallaix, A. Di Michele, M. A. Fazio, M. M. Fejer, D. Forest, C. Gier, M. Granata, A. M. Gretarsson, E. M. Gretarsson, E. Gustafson, E. J. Hough, M. Irving, É. Lalande, C. Lévesque, A. W. Lussier, A. Markosyan, I. W. Martin, Ludvik Martinu, B. Maynard, C. S. Menoni, C. Michel, P. G. Murray, C. Osthelder, S. Penn, L. Pinard, K. Prasai, S. Reid, R. Robie, S. Rowan, B. Sassolas, F. Schiettekatte, R. Shink, S. Tait, J. Teillon, G. Vajente, M. Ward and L. Yang

Article (2021)

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We report on the development and extensive characterization of co-sputtered tantala–zirconia (Ta₂O₅–ZrO₂) thin films, with the goal to decrease coating Brownian noise in present and future gravitational-wave detectors. We tested a variety of sputtering processes of different energies and deposition rates, and we considered the effect of different values of cation ratio η = Zr/(Zr + Ta) and of post-deposition heat treatment temperature Ta on the optical and mechanical properties of the films. Co-sputtered zirconia proved to be an efficient way to frustrate crystallization in tantala thin films, allowing for a substantial increase of the maximum annealing temperature and hence for a decrease of coating mechanical loss φc. The lowest average coating loss was observed for an ion-beam sputtered sample with η = 0.485 ± 0.004 annealed at 800 °C, yielding ${\overline{\varphi }}_{\mathrm{c}}=1.8{\times}1{0}^{-4}$ rad. All coating samples showed cracks after annealing. Although in principle our measurements are sensitive to such defects, we found no evidence that our results were affected. The issue could be solved, at least for ion-beam sputtered coatings, by decreasing heating and cooling rates down to 7 °C h−1. While we observed as little optical absorption as in the coatings of current gravitational-wave interferometers (0.5 parts per million), further development will be needed to decrease light scattering and avoid the formation of defects upon annealing.

Uncontrolled Keywords

thin films, thermal noise, gravitational-wave detectors

Subjects: 3100 Physics > 3100 Physics
3100 Physics > 3101 Atomic and molecular studies
Department: Department of Engineering Physics
Funders: CRSNG/NSERC, Virgo Coating Research and Development (VCR&D) Collaboration, Canadian foundation for innovation (CFI), Fonds de recherche Québec - Nature et technologies (FQRNT), Science and Technology Facilities Council, Royal Society, National Science Foundation Grant awards
Grant number: ST/N005422/1, ST/I001085/1, UF100602, UF150694, PHY-1307423, PHY-1707863, PHY-1611821
PolyPublie URL: https://publications.polymtl.ca/9309/
Journal Title: Classical and Quantum Gravity (vol. 38, no. 19)
Publisher: IOP Publishing
DOI: 10.1088/1361-6382/ac1b06
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6382%2fac1b06
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2022 13:23
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2023 12:15
Cite in APA 7: Abernathy, M., Amato, A., Ananyeva, A., Angelova, S., Baloukas, B., Bassiri, R., Billingsley, G., Birney, R., Cagnoli, G., Canepa, M., Coulon, M., Degallaix, J., Di Michele, A., Fazio, M. A., Fejer, M. M., Forest, D., Gier, C., Granata, M., Gretarsson, A. M., ... Yang, L. (2021). Exploration of co-sputtered Ta₂O₅–ZrO₂ thin films for gravitational-wave detectors. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 38(19), 40 pages. https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6382%2fac1b06


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