Comparison of Metal Adhesion Layers for Au Films in Thermoplasmonic Applications

William M. Abbott, Christopher P. Murray, Sorcha Ní Lochlainn, Frank Bello, Chuan Zhong, Christopher Smith, Eoin K. Mccarthy, Clive Downing, Dermot Daly, Amanda K. Petford-Long, Cormac Mcguinness, Igor Igorovich Chunin, John F. Donegan, David Mccloskey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13503-13509
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 18 2020


  • HAMR
  • adhesion
  • de-wetting
  • plasmonic
  • thin-film

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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