Abstract

Amorphous tantala (${{\rm Ta}_2}{{\rm O}_5}$) thin films were deposited by reactive ion beam sputtering with simultaneous low energy assist ${{\rm Ar}^ + }$ or ${{\rm Ar}^ + }/{\rm O}_2^ + $ bombardment. Under the conditions of the experiment, the as-deposited thin films are amorphous and stoichiometric. The refractive index and optical band gap of thin films remain unchanged by ion bombardment. Around 20% improvement in room temperature mechanical loss and 60% decrease in absorption loss are found in samples bombarded with 100-eV ${{\rm Ar}^ + }$. A detrimental influence from low energy ${\rm O}_2^ + $ bombardment on absorption loss and mechanical loss is observed. Low energy ${{\rm Ar}^ + }$ bombardment removes excess oxygen point defects, while ${\rm O}_2^ + $ bombardment introduces defects into the tantala films.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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