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Materials 2016, 9(11), 914; doi:10.3390/ma9110914

The Effect of Cu:Ag Atomic Ratio on the Properties of Sputtered Cu–Ag Alloy Thin Films

Department of Materials Engineering, Ming Chi University of Technology, New Taipei City 24301, Taiwan
Center for Thin Film Technologies and Applications, Ming Chi University of Technology, New Taipei City 24301, Taiwan
Department of Electronic Engineering, Chang Gung University, Taoyuen 33302, Taiwan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jordi Sort
Received: 18 September 2016 / Revised: 29 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Structure Analysis and Characterization)
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Cu–Ag thin films with various atomic ratios were prepared using a co-sputtering technique, followed by rapid thermal annealing at various temperatures. The films’ structural, mechanical, and electrical properties were then characterized using X-ray diffractometry (XRD), atomic force microscopy (AFM), FESEM, nano-indentation, and TEM as functions of compositions and annealing conditions. In the as-deposited condition, the structure of these films transformed from a one-phase to a dual-phase state, and the resistivity shows a twin-peak pattern, which can be explained in part by Nordheim’s Rule and the miscibility gap of Cu–Ag alloy. After being annealed, the films’ resistivity followed the mixture rule in general, mainly due to the formation of a dual-phase structure containing Ag-rich and Cu-rich phases. The surface morphology and structure also varied as compositions and annealing conditions changed. The recrystallization of these films varied depending on Ag–Cu compositions. The annealed films composed of 40 at % to 60 at % Cu had higher hardness and lower roughness than those with other compositions. Particularly, the Cu50Ag50 film had the highest hardness after being annealed. From the dissolution testing, it was found that the Cu-ion concentration was about 40 times higher than that of Ag. The galvanic effect and over-saturated state could be the cause of the accelerated Cu dissolution and the reduced dissolution of the Ag. View Full-Text
Keywords: Cu–Ag alloy thin films; sputtering; resistivity; structure; dissolution Cu–Ag alloy thin films; sputtering; resistivity; structure; dissolution

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Hsieh, J.; Hung, S. The Effect of Cu:Ag Atomic Ratio on the Properties of Sputtered Cu–Ag Alloy Thin Films. Materials 2016, 9, 914.

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