MSc Thesis Project

Project motivation:

Hafnia (HfO2) and hafnia-zirconia (Hf0.5Zr0.5O2) are known for a wide variety of properties. Amongst those is their ferroelectric behavior in certain conditions. Whether or not ferroelectricity is present largely depends on the crystal phase of the material. Through strain engineering and doping, the crystal phase can be controlled and manipulated. This opens up a wide variety of possible ways to look for enhanced ferroelectricity in the hafnia system.

Project goal:

The goal of this project is to investigate growth and crystal structure of hafnia (or hafnia-like compounds), as well as look into the functional properties of this material. Some modelling is already being done on this system. However, experimental input can give us a better understanding of what direction to search for with this material.

The growth will be done by pulsed laser deposition (PLD). The characterization will be done with different techniques such as reflective high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED), x-ray diffraction (XRD) and a ferroelectric tester.

Possible tasks of a MSc student:

  • Consider what strain conditions or doping materials could be interesting.
  • Fabricate hafnia targets that can be used in PLD and grow epitaxial hafnia films on different substrates.
  • Investigate the crystal structure of the synthesized films. This can be done with state of the art XRD equipment, RHEED and possible SEM or other techniques.
  • Characterize the functional properties of the hafnia by measuring P-E loops in the ferroelectric tester.  
  • Think about the interpretation of the experimental results and couple this to the results from the model. 

Ir. Kit de Hond, CR 3219,
Prof. Dr. Gertjan Koster, CR3247 ,
Inorganic Materials Science Group