A plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition (PE-ALD) process to deposit metallic gold is reported, using the previously reported Me3Au(PMe3) precursor with H2 plasma as the reactant. The process has a deposition window from 50 to 120 °C with a growth rate of 0.030 ± 0.002 nm per cycle on gold seed layers, and it shows saturating behavior for both the precursor and reactant exposure. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurements show that the gold films deposited at 120 °C are of higher purity than the previously reported ones (<1 at. % carbon and oxygen impurities and <0.1 at. % phosphorous). A low resistivity value was obtained (5.9 ± 0.3 μω cm), and X-ray diffraction measurements confirm that films deposited at 50 and 120 °C are polycrystalline. The process forms gold nanoparticles on oxide surfaces, which coalesce into wormlike nanostructures during deposition. Nanostructures grown at 120 °C are evaluated as substrates for free-space surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) and exhibit an excellent enhancement factor that is without optimization, only one order of magnitude weaker than state-of-the-art gold nanodome substrates. The reported gold PE-ALD process therefore offers a deposition method to create SERS substrates that are template-free and does not require lithography. Using this process, it is possible to deposit nanostructured gold layers at low temperatures on complex three-dimensional (3D) substrates, opening up opportunities for the application of gold ALD in flexible electronics, heterogeneous catalysis, or the preparation of 3D SERS substrates.

atomic layer deposition, gold metal, nanoparticles, plasmonics, SERS
ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Department of Chemistry

Van Daele, M. (Michiel), Griffiths, M.B.E. (Matthew B. E.), Raza, A. (Ali), Minjauw, M.M. (Matthias M.), Solano, E. (Eduardo), Feng, J.-Y. (Ji-Yu), … Dendooven, J. (Jolien). (2019). Plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition of nanostructured gold near room temperature. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. doi:10.1021/acsami.9b10848