Epitaxial Growth of Iron Oxide on Aluminum Oxide Single Crystals
Department: Materials Science and Engineering
Advisor: Nicholas Strandwitz
This study examines the solid phase crystallization of amorphous iron oxide on aluminum oxide (sapphire) single crystals. α-Fe2O3 is isostructral with α-Al2O3, but few reports are available that describe heteroeptiaxial growth. Iron oxide (Fe2O3) was spin-coated from iron nitrate solutions on  sapphire (Al2O3). The difference in lattice spacing and the solid phase crystallization process causes the epitaxial layer to be strained and defective. We have examined the crystallization process using x-ray diffraction (XRD) with in situ heating. We find a crystallization temperature of 370⁰ C and a monotonic increase in the iron oxide peak intensity with increasing annealing temperature, indicating a continual change in film structure. These results reveal new insight into the crystallization process and provide routes to heteroepitaxial iron oxide films for use in water splitting and other semiconductor electronics applications.
About Zoë Rosenberg:
Zoë Rosenberg is a junior at Lehigh University pursuing a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering and a B.A. in Product Design. She joined Professor Strandwitz’s research group in the spring of 2016 and was named a Clare Boothe Luce Research scholar, an award that honors women engineers interested in research. Since then, she has been working on the crystallization on iron oxide on aluminum oxide films. Aside from her studies; Zoë is also a member of the club field hockey team, pi beta phi, and the society of women engineers. In her free time she enjoys hiking, biking, snowboarding, and being outside. She hopes to pursue a career integrating her design and engineering skills.