Luis V. Rodríguez De Marcos, Juan I. Larruquert, José A. Méndez, Nuria Gutiérrez-Luna, Lucía Espinosa-Yáñez, Carlos Honrado-Benítez, José Chavero-Royán, and Belén Perea-Abarca
Progress towards far UV (FUV) coatings with enhanced reflectance is invaluable for future space missions, such as LUVOIR. This research starts with the procedure developed to enhance MgF2-protected Al reflectance through depositing MgF2 on a heated aluminized substrate [Quijada et al., Proc. SPIE 8450, 84502H (2012)] and it establishes the optimum deposition temperature of the MgF2 protective film for Al mirrors with a reflectance as high as ~90% at 121.6 nm. Al films were deposited at room temperature and protected with a MgF2 film deposited at various temperatures ranging from room temperature to 350°C. It has been found that mirror reflectance in the short FUV range continuously increases with MgF2 deposition temperature up to 250°C, whereas reflectance decreases at temperatures of 300°C and up. The short-FUV reflectance of mirrors deposited at 250°C only slightly decreased over time by less than 1%, compared to a larger decay for standard coatings prepared at room temperature. Al mirrors protected with MgF2 deposited at room temperature that were later annealed displayed a similar reflectance enhancement that mirrors protected at high temperatures. MgF2 and Al roughness as well as MgF2 density were analyzed by x-ray grazing incidence reflectometry. A noticeable reduction in both Al and MgF2 roughness, as well as an increase of MgF2 density, were measured for films deposited at high temperatures. On the other hand, it was found a strong correlation between the protective-layer deposition temperature (or post-deposition annealing temperature) and the pinhole open area in Al films, which could be prevented with a somewhat thicker Al film.