Characterization of atomic layer deposited metal films
and nanolaminates

Application Note #133


"SPR curves of Al2O3-Pt nanolaminates measured with MP-SPR"
Each of the following four layers (Pt- Al2O3-Pt- Al2O3) added (5nm each) formed a logical series and thickness of the each layer was calculated.

Miniaturization of optics, electronics and photovoltaics is an on-going process in todays industries. For effective application and manufacturing development is highly important that the materials can be characterized effectively. Characterization of nanoscale metal layers has been a challenging task with the current prevailing methods, and nanolaminates with alternating layers have been even more challenging systems to characterize. Multi-parametric SPR (MP-SPR) measures the intensity of the reflected light for a wide range of angles at multiple wavelengths, and can be used as an extremely sensitive thickness characterization tool for metals and metal hybrid laminates.

Pure glass substrates were coated with target thickness of 11 nm Platinum (Pt), or with a nanolaminate of alternating Al2O3 and Pt 5 nm each. Thickness of platinum and all the individual nanolaminate layers was determined from the SPR curves (angular spectra) using Fresnel-formalism. MP-SPR is also able to distinguish between Pt-Al2O3 (10 nm each) and a nanolaminate of Pt-Al2O3-Pt-Al2O3 (5 nm each). While both surfaces have same overall thickness of 20 nm with same ratio of the components, each  of them produces a distinct shape in the SPR curve.

The SPR proved to be an effective tool for the nanoscale metal layer characterization. Even small deviations in the metal layer thickness are easily characterized due to SPR sensitivity to the plasmonic material thickness.

Recommended instrument for this application:

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Further reading

  • If you are interested in characterization of thin solid films, you can see also AN#146 about characterization of single and multi-layer graphene and AN#153 about characterization of metal-organic framework.

  • Do you want to see how MP-SPR instruments work? Click here.

  • Do you want to see comparison of MP-SPR instruments? Click here.

  • Here are a few publications you can have a look at.


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