Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Nanoscale Science and Engineering


Nanoscale Engineering

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, 39 pages) : llustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Eric T Eisenbraun

Committee Members

James Lloyd, Hassaram Bakhru, Carl Ventrice, Steve Consiglio


Atomic layer deposition, Flexible electronics, Ruthenium compounds, Copper, Thin films

Subject Categories

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology


Low temperature plasma-assisted atomic layer deposition-grown metal nanocomposite layers based on mixtures of ruthenium and cobalt have been investigated as potential copper adhesion/barrier layers in flexible electronics applications. The success of adapting this process to flexible electronics depends on the candidate barriers meeting several necessary properties including sufficient electrical conductivity, compatibility with Cu electroplating, and ability to prevent Cu diffusion into the substrate. Preliminary testing has shown that atomic layer deposition (ALD) can be used as a technique for depositing alloyed metallic barrier layers at the lower thermal constraints dictated by the use of polymer substrates and still produce continuous and electrically conductive metallic thin films. This has been achieved by lowering ALD processing temperatures to below the glass transition temperatures of polymeric substrate materials used in flexible electronics, including polyimide (PI), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) in order to maintain their structural integrity. These liner films, processed at temperatures as low as 100°C, are observed to support direct (i.e. seedless) electrochemical deposition of copper, though they failed to effectively act as barriers preventing copper diffusion into the dielectric substrate material. Possible reasons for this behavior and additional studies to address it are also discussed.