Inhibiting the Segregation of Germanium in Silver Nanolayers

Ciesielski A., Trzciński M., Szoplik T.


10(4), 2020, art. 262, 10.3390/cryst10040262

It is generally acknowledged that using germanium as a wetting film for silver nanolayers decreases the surface roughness of the metal. However, germanium atoms also tend to segregate towards the surface of silver films, increasing ohmic losses in the structure. Here we propose an Au/Ge/Ag based structure where the segregation of germanium in silver is inhibited. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) results show that for the Au/Ge/Ag system, the surface concentration of germanium drops by an order of magnitude relative to multilayers containing only one type of metal (Ag or Au). We have also observed that the time-dependent decrease in the reflectivity due to localized surface plasmon excitation is less prominent in the case of the Au/Ge/Ag structure than in the case of Ag/Ge/Ag. We provide XPS as well as optical reflectometry results to support that claim.