Fun with Europium Oxide Films

The research group I work in has been interested in making me make Eu2O3 films for some time now. I can’t go into specifically why the group is interested in it or how we are making the films. But, the overarching goal is to be able to make a thin homogeneous layer of europium oxide and then potentially apply that knowledge to other +3 metals and maybe +4 (hint-hint) too. As with any Lone-Wolf project, there are always major bumps and ditches when you’re test driving a new method that the research group has no prior experience with. After attempting this new method several times I could only make very thin layers, layers so thin that I hesitate to call them layers. At any rate, I purposefully made one massively huge layer of Eu2O3 on my substrate to verify that the new method actually works and to examine what the surface looks like under extreme fatness. See image below

Europium Desert: Image is on the several millimeters range.

The sample shows a blistered desert like surface. A colleague who was passing by thought it was an aerial photo of Nevada at first glance. The sample is definitely not the homogeneous non-cracked surface I was aiming for, but this was an experiment at extremes after all.

Looking closer at the same sample, but now at the several 10s of micrometers scale, I came across very exotic and organic looking structures, like the one shown below. I’ve dubbed it my Europium Coral.

Although, my europium coral is the embodiment of everything I don’t want (I just want a thin homogeneous layer of Eu2O3), it is unexpected and surprising results like this which keeps science fun. Who would of known a layer of europium oxide would look so interesting?


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