Atomic and Molecular Layer Processes for Industrial Applications in Semiconductors, Pharmaceuticals and Optics

Tyler J. Myers
Abstract & Cover

Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is a thin film growth technique which deposits conformal, pin-hole free films with sub-nanometer precision. Molecular layer deposition (MLD) is an analogous process to ALD where molecular fragments are used to deposit all-organic or organic-inorganic hybrid films. Both ALD and MLD have been employed in numerous industries to advance technologies, notably in the semiconductor, energy storage, display and optics industries. In this thesis, I present three projects which utilize ALD and MLD processes for industrial applications in semiconductors, drug delivery and optical devices. The first project describes a study of the conversion of ZnO to Al2O3 using trimethylaluminum. Past instances of conversion are introduced, a number of analytical techniques are used to show evidence of the conversion mechanism and the generality of exchange reactions is discussed. Exchange reactions are becoming important to consider during ALD processes and as a processing tool in the semiconductor industry. The second project develops low-temperature MLD and ALD processes to coat nanoparticles. The construction of a new reactor built specifically for particle MLD is presented. Evidence of controlled polyamide MLD coatings is shown and we demonstrate MLD and ALD films may be used to modulate the release of pharmaceutical powders. The third project uses ALD to smooth surface roughness and improve the optical performance of Ag mirrors. Current smoothing techniques are abrasive and detrimental to mirror performance. The ALD process shows significant smoothing capabilities of both nano and microscale roughness and dramatically recovers reflectance performance lost due to optical scatter. These projects demonstrate the versatility of ALD and MLD processes and show precise thin film deposition techniques will continue to find use in numerous semiconductor and non-semiconductor industries.

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Tyler Myers
University of Colorado Boulder
(Boulder, USA)
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