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Investigation of the Young’s modulus and thermal expansion of amorphous titania-doped tantala films

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Abstract

The current generation of advanced gravitational wave detectors utilize titania-doped tantala/silica multilayer stacks for their mirror coatings. The properties of the low-refractive-index silica are well known; however, in the absence of detailed direct measurements, the material parameters of Young’s modulus and coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of the high refractive index material, titania-doped tantala, have been assumed to be equal to values measured for pure tantala coatings. In order to ascertain the true values necessary for thermal noise calculations, we have undertaken measurements of Young’s modulus and CTE through the use of nanoindentation and thermal-bending measurements. The measurements were designed to assess the effects of titania-doping concentration and post-deposition heat-treatment on the measured values in order to evaluate the possibility of optimizing material parameters to further improve thermal noise in the detector. Young’s modulus measurements on pure tantala and 25% and 55% titania-doped tantala show a wide range of values, from 132 to 177 GPa, which are dependent on both titania concentration and heat-treatment. Measurements of CTE give values of (3.9±0.1)×106K1 and (4.9±0.3)×106K1 for 25% and 55% titania-doped tantala, respectively, without dependence on post-deposition heat-treatment.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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