X-ray scattering from thin films and interfaces
The non-destructive study and characterisation of thin films and their interfaces, on an atomic scale, is a crucially important area of study in many areas of science and technology. In this thesis both high angle and grazing incidence x-ray scattering techniques have been used to study the effect of depositing thin films on surfaces with a periodic roughness, as well as studying the structure of laterally modulated surfaces themselves. High angle diffraction measurements of the out-of-plane size of Co crystallites and the crystalline texture of the Ag lattice, in a series of CoAg granular fihns, has allowed a consistent growth mechanism for the Co grains to be deduced. In grazing incidence scattering studies of this series of thin, granular films it was observed that the diffuse scatter was offset from the specular condition and the position of this offset was seen to vary, sinusoidally, upon rotation of the sample. This led to the conclusion that the growth techniques employed had caused a regular step-bunching of the Si (111) substrate. As step-bunching of surfaces can affect greatly the properties of thin films deposited on them, the ability to characterise the substrate after growth is extremely important. In spin-valves deposited on rough, tiled, silicon oxide substrates, the presence of strong interference fringes in the off-specular scatter demonstrated that vertically conformal roughness dominated the system and this was seen to result in the degradation of the magnetic sensitivity of the samples. Conversely, an enhancement in the photoluminescence from thin polymer films deposited on laterally modulated substrates led to a series of studies being made on such structures. In order to obtain information on the lateral period of such structures, as well as their roughness and thickness, existing scattering theories have been modified and a semi-kinematical code of the coherent scatter has been developed.