Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science



Major Professor

Tang, Jinke

Second Advisor

Stokes, Kevin

Third Advisor

Ventrice, Carl

Fourth Advisor

Azzam, Rasheed

Fifth Advisor

Puri, Ashok


My dissertation research focuses on the investigation of the transport and magnetic properties of transition metal and rare earth doped oxides, particularly SnO2 and HfO2 thin films. Cr- and Fe-doped SnO2 films were deposited on Al2O3 substrates by pulsed-laser deposition. Xray- diffraction patterns (XRD) show that the films have rutile structure and grow epitaxially along the (101) plane. The diffraction peaks of Cr-doped samples exhibit a systematic shift toward higher angles with increasing Cr concentration. This indicates that Cr dissolves in SnO2. On the other hand, there is no obvious shift of the diffraction peaks of the Fe-doped samples. The magnetization curves indicate that the Cr-doped SnO2 films are paramagnetic at 300 and 5 K. The Fe-doped SnO2 samples exhibit ferromagnetic behaviour at 300 and 5 K. Zero-field-cooled and field-cooled curves indicate super paramagnetic behavior above the blocking temperature of 100 K, suggesting that it is possible that there are ferromagnetic particles in the Fe-doped films. It was found that a Sn0.98Cr0.02O2 film became ferromagnetic at room temperature after annealing in H2. We have calculated the activation energy and found it decreasing with the annealing, which is explained by the increased oxygen vacancies/defects due to the H2 treatment of the films. The ferromagnetism may be associated with the presence of oxygen vacancies although AMR was not observed in the samples. Pure HfO2 and Gd-doped HfO2 thin films have been grown on different single crystal substrates by pulsed laser deposition. XRD patterns show that the pure HfO2 thin films are of single monoclinic phase. Gd-doped HfO2 films have the same XRD patterns except that their diffraction peaks have a shift toward lower angles, which indicates that Gd dissolves in HfO2. Transmission electron microscopy images show a columnar growth of the films. Very weak ferromagnetism is observed in pure and Gd-doped HfO2 films on different substrates at 300 and 5 K, which is attributed to either impure target materials or signals from the substrates. The magnetic properties do not change significantly with post deposition annealing of the HfO2 films.


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