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We discuss the formation of TiO thin films via DC reactive magnetron sputtering. The oxygen concentration during sputtering proved to be a crucial parameter with respect to the final film structure and properties. The initial deposition provided amorphous films that crystallise upon annealing to anatase or rutile, depending on the initial sputtering conditions. Substoichiometric films (TiO), obtained by sputtering at relatively low oxygen concentration, formed rutile upon annealing in air, whereas stoichiometric films formed anatase. This route therefore presents a formation route for rutile films via lower (<500 °C) temperature pathways. The dynamics of the annealing process were followed by in situ ellipsometry, showing the optical properties transformation. The final crystal structures were identified by XRD. The anatase film obtained by this deposition method displayed high carriers mobility as measured by time-resolved microwave conductance. This also confirms the high photocatalytic activity of the anatase films.


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