Two-step approach for conformal chemical vapor-phase deposition of ultra-thin conductive silver films



S. Wack, P. Lunca Popa, N. Adjeroud, C. Vergne, and R. Leturcq


ACS applied materials & interfaces, vol. 12, no. 32, p. 36329-36338, 2020


Conductive ultra-thin silver films are commonly fabricated by physical vapor deposition methods such as evaporation or sputtering. The line-of-sight geometry of these techniques impedes the conformal growth on substrates with complex morphology. In order to overcome this issue, volume deposition technologies such as chemical vapor deposition or atomic layer deposition are usually preferred. However, the silver films fabricated using these methods are generally non-electrically conductive for thicknesses below 20-50 nm due to island formation. Here, we demonstrate a novel approach for producing ultra-thin conductive silver layers on complex substrates. Relying on chemical vapor-phase deposition and plasma post-treatment, this two-step technique allows the synthesis of highly conductive and uniform silver films with a critical thickness lower than 15 nm and a sheet resistance of 1.6 Ω/□ for a 40 nm-thin film, corresponding to a resistivity of 6.4 μΩ·cm. The high infrared reflectance further demonstrates the optical quality of the films, despite a still large root-mean-square roughness of 8.9 nm. We successfully demonstrate the highly conformal deposition in lateral structures with an aspect ratio of up to 100. This two-step deposition method could be extended to other metals and open new opportunities for depositing electrically conductive films in complex 3D structures.



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