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We report irreversible thermochromic behaviour of BaWO (BWO) films for the first time. BWO films have been deposited at different substrate temperatures (RT, 200, 400, 600 and 800 °C) using RF magnetron sputtering in pure argon plasma. BWO films deposited at 800 °C exhibit crystalline nature. Also, BWO films deposited in the temperature range of 400 - 600 °C exhibit WO as a secondary phase and its weight percentage decreases with an increase in deposition temperature, whereas the films deposited at 800 °C exhibited pure tetragonal phase. FESEM images revealed that as the average particle sizes of the films are higher as compared with the thickness of the films and is explained based on Avrami type nucleation and growth. The transmittance of the films decreases with an increase in deposition temperature up to 600 °C and increases thereafter. Films deposited at 600 °C show ≤ 20% transmittance, looking at the films deposited at room temperature and 800 °C exhibits 90 and 70%, respectively. The refractive index and extinction coefficient of the films show profound dependence on crystallinity and packing density. The optical bandgap of BWO films increases significantly with an increase in O% during the deposition. The optical bandgap of the BWO films deposited at different temperatures in pure argon plasma, are in the range of 3.7 to 3.94 eV whereas the films deposited at 600 °C under different O plasma are in the range of 3.6 - 4.5 eV. The formations of colour centres are associated with the oxygen vacancies, which are clearly seen from the optical bandgap studies. The observed irreversible thermochromic behaviour in BWO films is attributed to the presence of oxygen vacancies that arises due to the electrons trapped at oxygen vacancies causing an inter valence charge transfer of W5+ to W6+ and is confirmed through the change in the optical density (ΔOD). Further, the Raman spectra are being used to quantify the presence of oxygen vacancies and the formation of pure BWO phase. The obtained optical responses of BWO films are promising for solar cell and smart window applications.


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