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Title: Role of thermal processes in dewetting of epitaxial Ag(111) film on Si(111)

Epitaxially grown silver (Ag) film on silicon (Si) is an optimal plasmonic device platform, but its technological utility has been limited by its tendency to dewet rapidly under ambient conditions (standard temperature and pressure). The mechanisms driving this dewetting have not heretofore been determined. In our study, scanning probe microscopy and low-energy electron microscopy are used to compare the morphological evolution of epitaxial Ag(111)/Si(111) under ambient conditions with that of similarly prepared films heated under ultra-high vacuum (UHV) conditions. Furthermore, dewetting is seen to be initiated with the formation of pinholes, which might function to relieve strain in the film. We find that in the UHV environment, dewetting is determined by thermal processes, and while under ambient conditions, thermal processes are not required. Finally, we conclude that dewetting in ambient conditions is triggered by some chemical process, most likely oxidation.
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of Texas, Austin, TX (United States)
  2. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0039-6028; PII: S0039602814002234
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Surface Science
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 630; Journal Issue: C; Related Information: Proposed for publication in Surface Science.; Journal ID: ISSN 0039-6028
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; silver film; dewetting; epitaxial growth; plasmonic devices