Influence of Ti and Cr Adhesion Layers on Ultrathin Au Films

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Efficient adhesion of gold thin films on dielectric or semiconductor substrates is essential in applications and research within plasmonics, metamaterials, 2D materials, and nanoelectronics. As a consequence of the relentless downscaling in nanoscience and technology, the thicknesses of adhesion layer and overlayer have reached tens of nanometers, and it is unclear if our current understanding is sufficient. In this report, we investigated how Cr and Ti adhesion layers influence the nanostructure of 2-20 nm thin Au films by means of high-resolution electron microscopy, complemented with atomic force microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Pure Au films were compared to Ti/Au and Cr/Au bilayer systems. Both Ti and Cr had a striking impact on grain size and crystal orientation of the Au overlayer, which we interpret as the adhesion layer-enhanced wetting of Au and the formation of chemical bonds between the layers. Ti formed a uniform layer under the Au overlayer. Cr interdiffused with the Au layer forming a Cr-Au alloy. The crystal orientation of the Au layers was mainly [111] for all thin-film systems. The results showed that both adhesion layers were partially oxidized, and oxidation sources were scrutinized and found. A difference in bilayer electrical resistivity between Ti/Au and Cr/Au systems was measured and compared. On the basis of these results, a revised and more detailed adhesion layer model for both Ti/Au and Cr/Au systems was proposed. Finally, the implications of the results were analyzed, and recommendations for the selection of adhesion layers for nano-optics and nanoelectronics applications are presented.
Original languageEnglish
JournalA C S Applied Materials and Interfaces
Volume9
Issue number42
Pages (from-to) 37374–37385
ISSN1944-8244
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: No match on DOI

    Research areas

  • Adhesion layer, Electron microscopy, Nano-optics, Nanoelectronics, Thin-film adhesion, Thin-film nanostructure

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