291261 ALD Manufactured Films: A Systematic Study

Monday, October 29, 2012
Hall B (Convention Center )
Michael Schaefer, Physics, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, Kathleen Baumback, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL and Mason A Chilmonczyk, Mechanical Engineering, University of South Florida, Temple Terrace, FL

ALD Manufactured Films: A Systematic Study

Materials science is an ever growing field, and most recently with the development and optimization of solar cells, thin films have become extremely popular. Atomic Layer Depostion is a method of deposting chemicals onto a substrate in alternating layers of metal/oxidizer to create angstrom thick films. ALD uses controlled reactions within vacuum (10^-3 torr) to eliminate almost all of contamination during deposition.

                Our setup is composed of a few different components that allow very precisely controlled film deposition.

  • Gas delivery system, allowing us to use mass flow controllers with Ar as a carrier gas to force precursor gases into the chamber for deposition
  • Reaction chamber with heated sample holder & QCM which controls film thickness
  • Two vacuum lines, one for deposition processes (10^-3 torr) and one for sample transfer into our in-situ analysis chamber (10^-8 torr).

One huge advantage of our setup is that we have an analysis chamber directly connected to our reactor chamber, all with ultra high vacuum capabilities. This allows us to deposit, and then transfer our sample directly into XPS, UPS, and IPES for a full spectrum line up. We can calculate different aspects of our samples, such as band width and work function, and even see what type of compound has been formed.

The reactor is controlled via microcontroller, known as the “Arduino”, a commercially available chip with open source programming. This control method took a bit longer to optimize, but huge costs accompanying usual controllers were eliminated.

Some preliminary results have been received, and these are currently in the process of analysis. Some future plans are to continue with surface studies, such as roughness and purity via SEM, XRD, and AFM. Eventually new metal/oxidizer groups will be studied in order to reach the end goal of putting these thin films into use with Cadmium-Telluride solar cells.

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