Atomic layer depositionΒΆ

Atomic layer deposition is an awesome materials synthesis technique that allows you to synthesize materials as thin films atomic layer by atomic layer. You can find my up goer-five explanation of ALD here or, for a more reputable source, you can check wikipedia.

Based on the sequential exposure of two or more gaseous species the formation of the material, ALD is a time-dependent process. At each cycle, the fraction of the surface covered with adsorbed precursor molecules increases with time until, if you wait for long enough, everything is coated by a monolayer of adsorbed precursor molecules. Therefore, in contrast to other thin film deposition techniques like chemical vapor deposition (CVD) or sputtering, which are sort of steady-state processes, ALD is driven by the saturation dynamics coupled to precursor transport: the evolution of surface coverage in time AND space.

Two key characteristics of ALD that make it particularly interesting are:

  • It is extremely reproducible: this makes it an ideal model system to study the impact of surface kinetics on the microstructure and properties of materials.
  • It is extremely conformal and scalable: its ability to homogeneously coat high surface area materials makes it a very useful tool in the fabrication of complex nanomaterials.

My research focuses on the application of ALD to the design of new materials and on its use as a sandbox to understand materials growth.