Optimizing growth conditions for electroless deposition of Au films on Si(111) substrates
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Electroless deposition of Au films on Si(111) substrates from fluorinated-aurate plating solutions has been carried out at varying concentrations, deposition durations as well as bath temperatures, and the resulting films were characterized by X-ray diffraction, optical profilometry, atomic force microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Depositions carried out with dilute plating solutions (< 0.1 mM) at 28°C for 30 min produce epitaxial films exhibiting a prominent Au(111) peak in the diffraction patterns, while higher concentrations or temperatures, or longer durations yield polycrystalline films. In both epitaxial and polycrystalline growth regimes, the film thickness increases linearly with time, however, in the latter case, at a rate an order of magnitude higher. Interestingly, the surface roughness measured using atomic force microscopy shows a similar trend. On subjecting to annealing at 250°C, the roughness of the film decreases gradually. Addition of poly (vinylpyrrolidone) to the plating solution is shown to produce a X-ray amorphous film with nanoparticulates capped with the polymer as evidenced by the core-level photoelectron spectrum. Nanoindentation using AFM has shown the hardness of the films to be much higher (∼ 2.19 GPa) than the bulk value.
KeywordsElectroless deposition nanoindentation surface morphology
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