Improving the thermal stability of Au thin films is critical if thermo-plasmonic applications such as heat-assisted magnetic recording are to become commercially viable. In this work, Al capping layers are deposited on M/Au films, where adhesion metal M = Ti or Ta, and are investigated for their utility in stabilizing Au thin films against dewetting. Contrary to previous investigations, it was found that thinner capping layers (0.5 nm) result in a greater stability than that conferred by thicker (1-5 nm) layers. Deposition of 0.5 nm of Al, which subsequently oxidizes when exposed to air, resulted in up to 10× stability enhancement. Similarly, capping with 0.5 nm Al resulted in less damping of the plasmonic response than with thicker capping layers. Finally, based on this work and previous work on metallic adhesion layers, optimally stable systems for thermo-plasmonic applications are proposed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)