A Quantified Dosing ALD Reactor with In-situ Diagnostics for Surface Chemistry Studies

Open Access
Larrabee, Thomas James
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
November 01, 2012
Committee Members:
  • David Lawrence Allara, Dissertation Advisor
  • Thomas E Mallouk, Dissertation Advisor
  • Miriam Arak Freedman, Committee Member
  • Roman Engel Herbert, Committee Member
  • atomic layer deposition
  • quartz crystal microbalance
  • quadrupole mass spectrometer
  • in-situ diagnostics
  • adsorption
  • reactivity
A specialized atomic layer deposition (ALD) reactor has been constructed to serve as an instrument to simultaneously study the surface chemistry of the ALD process, and perform ALD as is conventionally done in continuum flow of inert gas. This reactor is uniquely useful to gain insight into the ALD process because of the combination of its precise, controllable, and quantified dosing/microdosing capability; its in-situ quadrupole mass spectrometer for gas composition analysis; its pair of highly-sensitive in-situ quartz crystal microbalances (QCMs); and its complete spectrum of pressures and operating conditions --- from viscous to molecular flow regimes. Control of the dose is achieved independently of the conditions by allowing a reactant gas to fill a fixed volume and measured pressure, which is held at a controlled temperature, and subsequently dosed into the system by computer controlled pneumatic valves. Absolute reactant exposure to the substrate and QCMs is unambiguously calculated from the molecular impingement flux, and its relationship to dose size is established, allowing means for easily intentionally reproducing specific exposures. Methods for understanding atomic layer growth and adsorption phenomena, including the precursor sticking probability, dynamics of molecular impingement, size of dose, and other operating variables are for the first time quantitatively related to surface reaction rates by mass balance. Extensive characterization of the QCM as a measurement tool for adsorption under realistic ALD conditions has been examined, emphasizing the state-of-the-art and importance of QCM system features required. Finally, the importance of dose-quantification and microdosing has been contextualized in view of the ALD literature, underscoring the significance of more precise condition specification in establishing a better basis for reactor and reactant comparison.