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Zirconium Oxide ZrO2 Notes

Zirconium Oxide (ZrO2) General Information

Zirconium oxide is a chemical compound with a chemical formula of ZrO2. It is often referred to as zirconia. It is white in appearance with a melting point of ~2,700°C, a density of 5.89 g/cc, and a vapor pressure of 10-4 Torr at ~2,200°C. Due to its resistance to cracks, zirconium oxide is heavily utilized for ceramic production. Cubic zirconia, which is zirconium oxide in cubic crystalline form, is sold by jewelers as a low-cost alternative to diamonds. Zirconium oxide is evaporated under vacuum for optical coatings, semiconductors, and fuel cells.

Zirconium Oxide ZrO2 Specifications

Material TypeZirconium Carbide
Melting Point (°C)3,540
Theoretical Density (g/cc)6.73
Type of BondIndium, Elastomer
Z Ratio0.264
Temp. (°C) for Given Vap. Press. (Torr) 10-4:  ~2,500
Export Control (ECCN) 1C234


Empirical Determination of Z-Factor

Unfortunately, Z Factor and Shear Modulus are not readily available for many materials. In this case, the Z-Factor can also be determined empirically using the following method:

  • Deposit material until Crystal Life is near 50%, or near the end of life, whichever is sooner.
  • Place a new substrate adjacent to the used quartz sensor.
  • Set QCM Density to the calibrated value; Tooling to 100%
  • Zero thickness
  • Deposit approximately 1000 to 5000 A of material on the substrate.
  • Use a profilometer or interferometer to measure the actual substrate film thickness.
  • Adjust the Z Factor of the instrument until the correct thickness reading is shown.

Another alternative is to change crystals frequently and ignore the error. The graph below shows the % Error in Rate/Thickness from using the wrong Z Factor. For a crystal with 90% life, the error is negligible for even large errors in the programmed versus actual Z Factor.

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