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Toolbox for atomic layer deposition process development on high surface area powders

Knemeyer, Kristian; Baumgarten, Robert; Ingale, Piyush; Naumann d’Alnoncourt, Raoul; Driess, Matthias; Rosowski, Frank

BasCat Joint Lab

Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is an industrially applied technique for thin film deposition. The vast majority of processes target flat substrates rather than powders. For ALD on powders, new processes are needed, as different reaction conditions are required. Here, two setups are described in detail, which enhance the ALD process development for powders. The first setup described is capable of directly measuring the vapor pressure of a given precursor by a capacitance diaphragm gauge. Promising precursors can be pre-selected, and suitable precursor saturation temperatures can be determined. The second setup consists of four parallel reactors with individual temperature zones to screen the optimal ALD temperature window in a time efficient way. Identifying the precursor saturation temperature beforehand and subsequently performing the first ALD half cycle in the parallel setup at four different reactor temperatures simultaneously will drastically reduce process development times. Validation of both setups is shown for the well-known ALD precursors, trimethylaluminum to deposit aluminum oxide and diethyl zinc to deposit zinc oxide, both on amorphous silica powder.