The thermal stability of nanometer-sized Cu particles on a 400–500 nm thick SiO2 layer on top of a Si(100) substrate was studied after annealing in ultrahigh vacuum up to 620¿°C. Atomic force microscopy, low-energy ion scattering, Rutherford backscattering spectrometry, and Auger electron spectroscopy measurements clearly show that Cu-silicide islands are formed. A direct reaction of Cu with the SiO2 support is assumed, which is facilitated by a fairly strong metal-support interaction and by the wetting behavior of the silicide islands. Exposure to air at room temperature results in regeneration of the annealed Cu/SiO2 system.
Oetelaar, van den, L. C. A., Oetelaar, van den, R. J. A., Partridge, A., Flipse, C. F. J., & Brongersma, H. H. (1999). Reaction of nanometer-sized Cu particles with a SiO2 substrate. Applied Physics Letters, 74(20), 2954-2956. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.123977