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Atomic Layer Deposition of Metal Oxide Thin Films on Metallic Substrates Open Access


Other title
Atomic Layer Deposition
Thin Film
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Foroughi Abari, Ali
Supervisor and department
Cadien, Ken (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Barlage, Douglas (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Ivey, Douglas (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Nychka, John (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Materials Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is a powerful ultra-thin film deposition technique that uses sequential self-limiting surface reactions to provide conformal atomic scale film growth. Deposition of ALD films on many substrate systems has been studied before; however, limited data is available on deposition on metallic surfaces. The investigation of the growth of Al2O3, HfO2, and ZrO2 as three technologically important metal oxides on metallic substrates is the subject of this thesis. Al2O3, HfO2, and ZrO2 films were grown by ALD on silicon, as a well-studied substrate, in different operating conditions to investigate the effect of process parameters on film properties. To study the growth of oxides on metals, thin metallic substrates were prepared by sputter deposition on silicon wafers and then were transferred to the ALD chamber where the film growth was monitored by in-situ spectroscopic ellipsometry. The transfer was performed via a load lock system without breaking the vacuum to preserve the pristine metal surface. Formation of a thin interfacial layer of metal oxide was observed during the initial moments of plasma enhanced ALD, that was due to the exposure of metal surface to oxygen plasma. In-situ spectroscopic ellipsometry was used to accurately measure the thickness change of the growing films including the interfacial layer. The thickness of this interfacial oxide layer depended on various process parameters including deposition temperature, order of precursors and plasma pulse length. The interfacial oxide layer was absent during the conventional thermal ALD. However, thermal ALD of oxides on metals exhibited substrate-inhibited growth, especially at higher deposition temperatures. With the knowledge of ALD growth characteristics on metals, metal-insulator-metal (MIM) devices were fabricated by both thermal and plasma enhanced ALD and electrically characterized. The presence of the interfacial oxide layer altered the device performance by changing the capacitance and current characteristics. Employing this approach, it was shown that ALD can be successfully used in the fabrication process of MIM devices and similar systems where ultra-thin insulating layers need to be uniformly deposited on a metallic surface.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
A. Foroughi-Abari and K.C. Cadien in Stepnova, S. Dew, Nano-fabrication, SpringerWien 2011Foroughi-Abari, A., Xu, C., Cadien, K.C., Thin Solid Films, 520 (2012)A. Foroughi-Abari, K. Cadien, Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 159 (2), 2012

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