Articles written in Bulletin of Materials Science
Volume 35 Issue 4 August 2012 pp 551-560
The growth of discontinuous thin films of Ag and Au by low energy ion beam sputter deposition is reported. The study focuses on the role of the film–substrate in determining the shape and size of nanostructures achieved in such films. Ag films were deposited using Ar ion energy of 150 eV while the Au films were deposited with Ar ion energies of 250–450 eV. Three types of interfaces were investigated in this study. The first set of film–substrate interfaces consisted of Ag and Au films grown on borosilicate glass and carbon coated Cu grids used as substrates. The second set of films was metallic bilayers in which one of the metals (Ag or Au) was grown on a continuous film of the other metal (Au or Ag). The third set of interfaces comprised of discontinuous Ag and Au films deposited on different dielectrics such as SiO2, TiO2 and ZrO2. In each case, a rich variety of nanostructures including self organized arrays of nanoparticles, nanoclusters and nanoneedles have been achieved. The role of the film–substrate interface is discussed within the framework of existing theories of thin film nucleation and growth. Interfacial nanostructuring of thin films is demonstrated to be a viable technique to realize a variety of nanostructures. The use of interfacial nanostructuring for plasmonic applications is demonstrated. It is shown that the surface Plasmon resonance of the metal nanostructures can be tuned over a wide range of wavelengths from 400 to 700 nm by controlling the film–substrate interface.
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