A tribological study of kinetically influenced ultrathin Au and Cu metal overlayers grown on dendrimer mediated Si

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Evidence is presented here for deposition kinetic energy influences on the wear properties of Au and Cu films deposited by evaporation and sputtering on clean and poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimer modified SiOx substrates. Ramped load nanoscratch tests show increased resistance to wear in the presence of the dendrimer monolayer. Nanoscratch profiles indicate that the critical load to failure (scratch bearing capacity) is increased in the presence of a dendrimer interlayer. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) analysis of the wear tracks show that following film failure plowing is the predominant mechanism of wear for sputtered or evaporatively deposited Au. No obvious changes in the wear properties (a pure cutting mechanism) of Cu thin films are observed upon changing the kinetic energy of the incoming metal.

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