If thermoplasmonic applications such as heat-assisted magnetic recording are to be commercially viable, it is necessary to optimize both thermal stability and plasmonic performance of the devices involved. In this work, a variety of different adhesion layers were investigated for their ability to reduce dewetting of sputtered 50 nm Au films on SiO2 substrates. Traditional adhesion layer metals Ti and Cr were compared with alternative materials of Al, Ta, and W. Film dewetting was shown to increase when the adhesion material diffuses through the Au layer. An adhesion layer thickness of 0.5 nm resulted in superior thermomechanical stability for all adhesion metals, with an enhancement factor of up to 200× over 5 nm thick analogues. The metals were ranked by their effectiveness in inhibiting dewetting, starting with the most effective, in the order Ta > Ti > W > Cr > Al. Finally, the Au surface-plasmon polariton response was compared for each adhesion layer, and it was found that 0.5 nm adhesion layers produced the best response, with W being the optimal adhesion layer material for plasmonic performance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)