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Graduate Student Seminar - 10/01/2010

"Atomic Layer Deposition -- From Processes to Applications"

by Parag Banerjee

Friday, October 1, 2010 -- 12:00 p.m.
Large Conference Room, 1207 Energy Research Facility

Advisor:  Professor Gary Rubloff

Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is quickly becoming a tool of choice for nanotechnologists in need of precise, conformal, and functional films. Even though ALD has been used in the display and semiconductor industry for over three decades, its usefulness as a processing tool, especially for depositing thin films with nanometer precision inside ultra-high aspect-ratio nanoarchitectures, has only (relatively) recently been exploited. The nanometer precision with which one can deposit ALD films has also led to the development of a plethora of "nanolaminate films" where individiual layers of only a few nanometers thickness and with starkly differing properties are placed contiquously to one another to obtain attractive functionalities in the resulting composite film. Thus, ALD is characterized by (a) its ability to deposit conformally inside deep nanostructures and (b) precise control over film thickness is a natural tool of choice for many nanotechnologists.

What makes ALD so unique, simple and attractive? I will spend the first part of my talk addressing this issue. The answer really lies in the tunable surface chemistry of the reacting substrate and sequential reaction mechanisms that lead to ALD film growth. I will use the model ALD process, that of Al203, in highlighting this aspect. The second part of the talk will be focused on applications that have used ALD effectively and creatively -- exploiting new architectures and/or yielding unique material systems. Special attention will be paid to applications in the energy domain. Finally, we will showcase some of the ongoing work in the Rubloff Group as part of our efforts to build high energy, high power density metal-insulator-metal (MIM) electrostatic supercapacitors.

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