The applications of Au thin films and their adhesion layers often suffer from a lack of sufficient information about the chemical states of adhesion layers and about the high-lateral-resolution crystallographic morphology of Au nanograins. Here, we demonstrate the in-depth evolution of the chemical states of adhesive layers at the interfaces and the crystal orientation mapping of gold nanograins with a lateral resolution of less than 10 nm in a Ti/Au/Cr tri-layer thin film system. Using transmission electron microscopy, the variation in the interdiffusion at Cr/Au and Ti/Au interfaces was confirmed. From X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) depth profiling, the chemical states of Cr, Au and Ti were characterized layer by layer, suggesting the insufficient oxidation of the adhesive layers. At the interfaces the Au 4f peaks shift to higher binding energies and this behavior can be described by a proposed model based on electron reorganization and substrate-induced final-state neutralization in small Au clusters supported by the partially oxidized Ti layer. Utilizing transmission Kikuchi diffraction (TKD) in a scanning electron microscope, the crystal orientation of Au nanograins between two adhesion layers was nondestructively characterized with sub-10 nm spatial resolution. The results provide nanoscale insights into the Ti/Au/Cr thin film system and contribute to our understanding of its behavior in nano-optic and nano-electronic devices.
- Tri-layer thin film
- XPS depth profiling
- Partial oxidation of adhesion layers
- Crystal orientation mapping
- Transmission Kikuchi diffraction (TKD)