Dry etching of copper phthalocyanine thin films: effects on morphology and surface stoichiometry

Molecules. 2012 Aug 24;17(9):10119-30. doi: 10.3390/molecules170910119.


We investigate the evolution of copper phthalocyanine thin films as they are etched with argon plasma. Significant morphological changes occur as a result of the ion bombardment; a planar surface quickly becomes an array of nanopillars which are less than 20 nm in diameter. The changes in morphology are independent of plasma power, which controls the etch rate only. Analysis by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy shows that surface concentrations of copper and oxygen increase with etch time, while carbon and nitrogen are depleted. Despite these changes in surface stoichiometry, we observe no effect on the work function. The absorbance and X-ray diffraction spectra show no changes other than the peaks diminishing with etch time. These findings have important implications for organic photovoltaic devices which seek nanopillar thin films of metal phthalocyanine materials as an optimal structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbon / chemistry
  • Copper / chemistry
  • Indoles / chemistry*
  • Lasers, Gas
  • Nitrogen / chemistry
  • Organometallic Compounds / chemistry*
  • Oxygen / chemistry
  • Photoelectron Spectroscopy
  • Surface Properties


  • Indoles
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • copper phthalocyanine
  • Carbon
  • Copper
  • Nitrogen
  • Oxygen