Chair for Multicomponent Materials

Metal-polymer interfaces

Metallized polymers are widely used in many fields ranging from food packing to optical data storage. Research into the field has mainly been stimulated by applications in microelectronics where polymers are used as low-permittivity (low-k) dielectrics. From the fundamental point of view, interface formation between such different materials as densely packed crystalline metals with a high cohesive energy and polymers, held together in an open structure by weak van der Waals forces, has been a challenging subject.

The Chair for Multicomponent Materials has been working in the field of metal polymer interfaces since more than 20 years on various aspects and was involved in pioneering work particularly related to interface formation during metal deposition and metal diffusion in polymers. This work also includes computer simulations. Over the years, the following subjects were treated inter alia:

Recent work


Earlier work

  • Condensation, nucleation and growth of metallic films on polymer surfaces,
  • interplay of metal diffusion and aggregation at polymer surfaces and inside polymers,
  • correlation between microscopic parameters of the interface and metal adhesion,
  • ion beam modification of polymer surfaces,
  • glass transition on polymer surfaces

These investigations have been supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) under participation of industrial partners.


(Right)  AFM image of 4 nm of Cu deposited on an untreated polyimide surface. Metals of not too high reactivity do not wet polymers and form clusters on the surface. (Left)   cross-sectional TEM image of 10 nm Au deposited on TMC-Polycarbonate at 290°C. Here the strong aggregation tendency and weak metal-polymer interaction lead to strong metal diffusion into the polymer at low deposition rates and high temperatures and to the formation of extended interfaces.


Selected publications on early work (see above links for recent work)

Hanisch, C.; Ni, N.; Kulkarni, A.; Zaporojtchenko, V.; Strunskus, T.; Faupel, F.: Fast electrical response to volatile organic compouns of 2D Au nanoparticle layers embedded into polymers, Journal of Material Science Vol. 46(2) (2010) 438-445.

Hanisch, C.; Kulkarni, A.; Zaporojtchenko, V.; Faupel, F.: Polymer-metal nanocomposites with 2-dimensional Au nanoparticle arrays for sensoric applications, Journal of Physics: Conference Series 100 (2008) 52043.

Hajati, S.; Zaporojtchenko, V.; Faupel, F.; Tougaard, S.: Characterization of Au nano-cluster formation on and diffusion in Polystyrene using XPS peak shape analysis, Surface Science 601(15) (2007) 3261-3267.

Kruse, J.; Dolgner, K.; Greve, H.; Zaporojtchenko, V.; Faupel, F.: Dispersion of gold nanoclusters in TMBPA-Polycarbonate by a combination of thermal embedding and vapor-induced crystallization, Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics 39(23)(2006) 5086-5090.

Scharnberg, M.; Kanzow, J.; Rätzke, K.; Adelung, R.; Meyer, S.; Pflaum, J.; Faupel, F.: Radiotracer diffusion measurements of noble metal atoms in semiconducting organic films, Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings871E (2005) Paper 16.31.

Scharnberg, M.; Hu, J.; Kanzow, J.; Rätzke, K.; Adelung, R.; Faupel, F.; Pflaum, J.: Ag-diffusion in the organic semiconductor diindenoperylene, Defect and Diffusion Forum 237-240 (2005) 993-997.

Scharnberg, M.; Hu, J.; Kanzow, J.; Rätzke, K.; Adelung, R.; Faupel, F.; Panne-Mann, C.; Hilleringmann, U.; Meyer, S.; Pflaum, J.: Radiotracer measurements as a sensitive tool for the detection of metal penetration in molecular-based organic electronics, Applied Physics Letters 86(2) (2005) 024104/1-024104/3.

Koziol, K.; Dolgner, K.; Tsuboi, N.; Kruse, J.; Zaporojtchenko, V.; Deki, S.; Faupel, F.: Dispersion of gold in polycarbonate by vapor-induced crystallization, Macromolecules 37(6) (2004) 2182-2185.

Faupel, F.; Thran, A.; Zaporojtchenko, V.; Strunskus, T.; Kiene, M.: Metal diffusion in polymers and on polymers surfaces,Diffusion Processes in Advanced Technological Materials, D. Gupta (Ed.), Noyes Publication, William Andrew Publishing, LLC (2004) 333 invited book chapter.

Kruse, J.; Kanzow, J.; Rätzke, K.; Faupel, F.; Heuchel, M.; Frahn, F.; Hofmann, D.: Free volume in polymeric membranes: Experiment and simulation, Membrane News 66 (2004) 51.

Zöllmer, V.; Rätzke, K.; Faupel, F.; and Meyer, A.: Diffusion in a metallic melt at the critical temperature of mode coupling theory, Physical Review Letters 90(19) (2003) 195502/1-195502/4.

Ding, S.-J.; Zaporojtchenko, V.; Kruse, J.; Zekonyte, J.; Faupel, F.: Investigation on interaction of evaporated aluminum with vapor deposited Teflon AF film via X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Applied Physics A: Materials Sience & Processing76(5) (2003) 851-856.

Faupel, F.; Thran, A.; Kiene, M.; Strunskus, T.; Zaporojtchenko, V.; Behnke, K.: Diffusion of metals in polymers and during metal-polymer interface formation, Low Dielectric Constant Materials for IC Applications, P. S. Ho, W. W. Lee, and J. Leu (Eds.), Springer Verlag 221 (2003) invited book chapter.

Faupel, F.; Zaporojtchenko, V.; Strunskus, T.; Erichsen, J.; Dolgner, K.; Thran, A.; Kiene, M.: Fundamental aspects of polymer metallization, Metallization of Polymers 2, 2nd, Montreal, QC, Canada, June 27-29 2001 (2002) 73-96.

Thran, A.; T. Stunskus, Zaporojtchenko, V.; Faupel, F.: Evidence of nobel metal diffusion in polymers at room temperature and its retardation by a chromium barrier, Applied Physics Letters 81(2) (2002) 244-246.

Zaporojtchenko, V.; Erichsen, J.; Strunskus, T.; Behnke, K.; Faupel, F.; Baklanov, M.; Maex, K.: Comparative analysis of the nucleation and growth of copper on different low-k polymers, Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings714E (2001) L8.1.

Behnke, K.; Strunskus, T.; Zaporojtchenko, V.; Faupel, F.: Metal/polymer interfaces and composite materials prepared by vapor phase deposition, Proc. 3rd Int. Conf. MicroMat 2000, B. Michel, T. Winkler, M. Werner, and H. Fecht (Eds.), Verlag ddp goldenbogen, Dresden (2000) 1052.

Zaporojtchenko, V.; Strunskus, T.; Behnke, K.; Bechtolsheim, C. v.; Thran, A.; Faupel, F.: Formation of metal-polymer interfaces by metal evaporation: influence of deposition parameters and defects, Microelectronic Engineering 50(1-4)(2000) 465-471.

Zaporojtchenko, V.; Strunskus, T.; Behnke, K.; Faupel, F.: Controlled nucleation and growth of noble metals on polymers,Proc. Euromat 99, 9, Interface Controlled Materials (Eds.: M. Rühle et al.) 24 (2000) .

Zaporojtchenko, V.; Behnke, K.; Strunskus, T.; Faupel, F.: Determination of condensation coefficients of metals on polymer surfaces, Surface Science 412-416 (2000) 454-456.

Zaporojtchenko, V.; Strunskus, T.; Behnke, K.; Bechtolsheim, C. v.; Kiene, M.; Faupel, F.: Metal/polymer interfaces with designed morphologies, Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology 14(3) (2000) 467-490.

Faupel, F.; Thran, A.; Zaporojtchenko, V.; Kiene, M.; Strunskus, T.; Behnke, K.: Nucleation, growth, interdiffusion, and adhesion of metal films on polymers, AIP Confernece Proceedings 201-216 (1999) 491.

Thran, A.; Kiene, M.; Zaporojtchenko, V.; Faupel, F.: Extremely low metal condensation coefficients determined on low-k polymers, MRS Bulletin 3 (1999) .

Strunskus, T.; Zaporojtchenko, V.; Bechtolsheim, C. v.; Behnke, K.; Faupel, F.: Metall/Polymer-Verbunde: Grenzflächendesign zur Haftungssteigerung, Verbundwerkstoffe und Werkstoffverbunde, K. Schulte und K. U. Kainer (Hrsg.), Wiley-VCH, Weinheim (1999) 543.

Behnke, K.; Zaporojtchenko, V.; Strunskus, T.; Faupel, F.: Herstellung von Edelmetallcluster/Polymer-Kompositfilmen durch ein Gasphasen-abscheidungsverfahren, Verbundwerkstoffe und Werkstoffverbunde, K. Schulte und K.U. Kainer (Hrsg.), Wiley-VCH, Weinheim (1999) 549.

Thran, A.; Kroll, G.; Faupel, F.: Correlation between fractional free volume and diffusivity of gas molecules in glassy polymers, Journal of Polymer Science B, Polymer Physics 37(23) (1999) 3344-3358.

Bechtolsheim, C. v.; Zaporojtchenko, V.; Faupel, F.: Interface structure and formation between gold and trimethylcyclohexane polycarbonate, Journal of Matererials Research 14(9) (1999) 3538-3543.

Thran, A.; Kiene, M.; Zaporojtchenko, V.; Faupel, F.: Condensation coefficients of silver on polymers[1], Physical Review Letters 82(9) (1999) 1903-1906.

Kiene, M.; Strunskus, T.; Faupel, F.: Early stages of copper-polyimide interface formation, Metallized Plastics 5&6: Fundamental and Applied Aspects K. L. Mittal (Ed.), VSP, Zeist (1998) 211-229.

Kiene, M.; Strunskus, T.; Peter, R.; Faupel, F.: Evidence of aggregation-induced copper immobilization during polyimide metallization, Advanced Materials 10(16) (1998) 1357-1360.

Faupel, F.; Strunskus, T.; Kiene, M.; Thran, A.; Bechtolsheim, C. v.; Zaporojtchenko, V.: Fundamental aspects of polymer metallization, Mat. Res. Soc. Symp. Proc. 511 ”Low-Dielectric Constant Materials IV” Eds. C. Chiang, J.T. Wetzel, T-M. Lu, P.S. Ho (1998) invited paper.

Faupel, F.; Willecke, R.; Thran, A.; Kiene, M.; Bechtolsheim, C. v.; Strunskus, T.: Metal diffusion in polymers, Defect and Diffusion Forum 887 (1997) 143-147.

Thran, A.; Faupel, F.: Computer simulations of metal diffusion in polymers, Defect and Diffusion Forum 903 (1997) 143-147.

Willecke, R.; Faupel, F.: Diffusion of gold and silver in bisphenol-A polycarbonate, Macromolecules 30(3) (1997) 567-573.

Gupta, D.; Faupel, F.; Willecke, R.: Metal atom diffusion in amorphous polyimides, Diffusion in Amorphous Materials, J. Hein and D. Gupta (Eds.), The Mineral, Metals, and Materials Society (1994) .

Faupel, F.: Defects and diffusion in crystalline and amorphous metals studied by radiotracer methods, Proc. XXVIII Zakopane School of Physics, Condensed Matter Studies by Nuclear Methods, Institute of Physics, Krakòw, (1993) 55.

Faupel, F.: Diffusion in non-crystalline metallic and organic media, Phys. stat. sol. 134 (1992) 9.