Growth and morphology of sputtered aluminum thin films on P3HT surfaces

Gunar Kaune, Ezzeldin Metwalli, Robert Meier, Volker Körstgens, Kai Schlage, Sebastien Couet, Ralf Röhlsberger, Stephan V. Roth, Peter Müller-Buschbaum

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46 Scopus citations


Growth and morphology of an aluminum (Al) contact on a poly(3- hexylthiophene) (P3HT) thin film are investigated with X-ray methods and related to the interactions at the Al:P3HT interface. Grazing incidence small-angle scattering (GISAXS) is applied in situ during Al sputter deposition to monitor the growth of the layer. A growth mode is found, in which the polymer surface is wetted and rapidly covered with a continuous layer. This growth type results in a homogeneous film without voids and is explained by the strong chemical interaction between Al and P3HT, which suppresses the formation of three-dimensional cluster structures. A corresponding three stage growth model (surface bonding, agglomeration, and layer growth) is derived. X-ray reflectivity shows the penetration of Al atoms into the P3HT film during deposition and the presence of a 2 nm thick intermixing layer at the Al:P3HT interface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1055-1062
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number4
StatePublished - 27 Apr 2011


  • P3HT
  • aluminum
  • solar cell
  • sputtering


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