Electrical properties and reduced Debye temperature of polycrystalline thin gold films

Weigang Ma, Xing Zhang, Koji Takahashi

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34 Citations (Scopus)


The temperature-dependent electrical properties of four suspended polycrystalline thin gold films with thicknesses of 20.0, 23.0, 36.0 and 54.0 nm have been measured in the temperature range 100-310 K. The measured results show that the electrical resistivity of the films significantly increases while the corresponding temperature dependence decreases compared with bulk gold. The significantly increased electrical resistivity indicates that grain boundary scattering dominates over surface scattering in the studied films. However, fixing the Debye temperature to the bulk value will lead to an erroneous temperature dependence of resistivity. Taking into account the reduced characteristic Debye temperature along with the surface and grain boundary scattering, the electrical properties of the films can be well described in the whole temperature range. The extracted grain boundary reflection coefficient is 0.3 ± 0.03, within the range of the previous reported values, 0.1-0.45. The films' characteristic Debye temperatures decrease from the bulk value of 165 K to between 83 and 121K and tend to increase with increasing film thickness. This tendency coincides with the previous studies on thin gold, copper, platinum, silver films or wires, and cobalt/nickel superlattices. The possible mechanism responsible for the reduced Debye temperature is phonon softening at the surfaces, grain boundaries, disorder, defects and impurities, part of which has been demonstrated in other studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number465301
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number46
Publication statusPublished - Nov 24 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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