No Access Submitted: 16 July 2019 Accepted: 18 October 2019 Published Online: 04 November 2019
Appl. Phys. Lett. 115, 191901 (2019);
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The thermal properties of plasma-generated aluminum oxyfluoride passivation layers at the surface of aluminum thin films are measured. The oxyfluoride layers are generated using plasmas produced in mixtures of NH3 and SF6 to simultaneously remove oxygen and add fluorine to the aluminum surface, an alternative approach to the more conventional two-step methods that utilize HF treatments to remove the native oxide followed by metal-fluoride (e.g., MgF2, LiF, and AlF3) thin film deposition that serves to protect the aluminum surface from further oxidation. Here, the change in thermal properties of the layers as a function of plasma processing time is determined. A significant reduction in thermal boundary conductance is measured with the increasing treatment time, which can be related to the increasing fluorine content in the layers. Acoustic reflection measurements indicate this reduced thermal boundary conductance is associated with lower bonding strength to aluminum with increasing fluorine.
J.A.T. and P.E.H. acknowledge support from the Office of Naval Research (Grant No. N00014-15-1-2769). This work was partially supported by the NRL base program through the Office of Naval Research. S.G.R. would like to acknowledge the support of the American Society for Engineering Education and U.S. Naval Research Laboratory postdoctoral fellowship program, as well as the Laboratory University Collaboration Initiative (LUCI) program for funding.

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