Quantitative evolution of electrical contact resistance between aluminum thin films

David Mercier, Vincent Mandrillon, Anthony Holtz, Fabien Volpi, Marc Verdier, Yves Bréchet

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOther

7 Citations (Scopus)


In the field of electrical contact, to explain the evolution of electrical resistance as a function of the applied load, it is necessary to take into account the fracture of the native oxide of a metal. This work investigates the role played by the native alumina present at the surface of Al thin film in the formation of micro-contacts as a function of the applied load and loading rate. Thin aluminum films (1μm) are sputtered on silica rods (curvature radii of 3 mm and 6 mm). Model crossed rods electrical contact experiments are performed for pressures ranging from 100 MPa up to 1.7 GPa. The following evolution of the electrical contact resistance is proposed. At low loads, the contact is first established without native oxide fracture leading to high levels of electrical resistance by tunneling effect (MOhm). Then fracture of native alumina is associated with the decreasing of the electrical contact resistance between kOhm to Ohm. Extrusion of aluminum through cracks is assumed to be responsible for good ohmic contact where cracks overlap. We show a strong influence of loading rate and contact geometry are investigated. At maximum load, the electrical contact resistance reaches a limit (<100 mOhm), which is controlled by experimental geometry and intrinsic resistivity of the thin film. Current line spreading is modeled for this geometry and non negligible correction is carried out.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 58th IEEE Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts, HOLM 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventIEEE Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts International Conference on Electrical Contacts 2012 - Portland, United States of America
Duration: 23 Sept 201226 Sept 2012
Conference number: 58th

Publication series

NameElectrical Contacts, Proceedings of the Annual Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts
ISSN (Print)0361-4395


ConferenceIEEE Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts International Conference on Electrical Contacts 2012
Abbreviated titleHOLM 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America


  • constriction
  • crossed rods
  • crowding
  • Electrical contact resistance
  • fracture
  • insulating film
  • native oxide
  • spreading

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