We show that atomic force microscope-induced oxide features can be formed reproducibly on both Zr and ZrN surfaces, and that the growth rate decreases rapidly with increasing time. There is an increase in oxide-feature height with humidity for both systems, and an approximately linear dependence of the height of the structures on the applied voltage for all films for short exposure times. As the anodization time increases, only the thinnest (6 nm) films show a large enhancement in oxide-feature height, demonstrating the role of the film/substrate interface. Under the same conditions, the height of features grown on ZrN films is greater than for those grown on Zr films, indicating that nitrogen plays a role in the oxidation process. (C) 2003 American Vacuum Society.
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