Thursday, October 30, 2014

Toyota funds ALD technology research for battery materials at Aalto University, Finland

"Toyota enthusiastic over Aalto’s materials research" Professor Maarit Karppinen’s research group is developing better battery materials by means of atomic layer deposition.

The car-manufacturing giant found Aalto University and Maarit Karppinen’s research group on the basis of a recommendation.‘They bought the reactor needed for atomic layer deposition from Picosun, a Finnish company that told them we would have the research expertise they needed,’ explains doctoral researcher Mikko Nisula, who works in Professor Karppinen’s group.

‘It’s great that an international car-manufacturing giant is capable in practice of utilizing the long-term basic research with ALD technology we’ve been doing. The cooperation has advanced quite smoothly,’ Professor Karppinen says.


More information:
Doctoral candidate Mikko Nisula, Aalto University School of Chemical Technology, Department of Chemistry

Professor Maarit Karppinen, Aalto University School of Chemical Technology, Department of Chemistry

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ferroelectricity in Si-doped HfO2 Revealed: A Binary Lead-free Ferroelectricby ALD

Scientists at Namlab gGmbH, Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research and Fraunhofer IPMS-CNT Dresden, Germany together with Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, TN, USA provides conclusive evidence to intrinsic ferroic behavior in Si-doped HfO2.

 Dominik Martin, Johannes Müller, Tony Schenk, Tomas M. Arruda, Amit Kumar, Evgheni Strelcov, Ekaterina Yurchuk, Stefan Müller, Darius Pohl, Uwe Schröder, Sergei V. Kalinin, and Thomas Mikolajick

Advanced Materials Article first published online: 28 OCT 2014

Static domain structures and polarization dynamics of silicon doped HfO2 are explored. The evolution of ferroelectricity as a function of Si-doping level driving the transition from paraelectricity via ferroelectricity to antiferroelectricity is investigated. Ferroelectric and antiferroelectric properties can be observed locally on the pristine, poled and electroded surfaces, providing conclusive evidence to intrinsic ferroic behavior.

One ALD layer can increase the efficiency of photoelectrodes for water splitting

Here is a new paper from Massimo Tallarida and co-workers group in Cottbus at Brandenburg University of Technology in collaboration with Helsinki, Tartu and Alicante. The published paper below in Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, gives for the first time a reasonable explanation of why 1 ALD layer can increase the efficiency of photoelectrodes for water splitting, just using the chemistry of ALD (in particular, only TMA).

Modification of Hematite Electronic Properties with Trimethyl Aluminum to Enhance the Efficiency of Photoelectrodes

Massimo Tallarida, Chittaranjan Das, Dejan Cibrev, Kaupo Kukli, Aile Tamm, Mikko Ritala, Teresa Lana-Villarreal, Roberto Gómez, Markku Leskelä, and Dieter Schmeisser

J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 2014, 5 (20), pp 3582–3587
The electronic properties of hematite were investigated by means of synchrotron radiation photoemission (SR-PES) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). Hematite samples were exposed to trimethyl aluminum (TMA) pulses, a widely used Al-precursor for the atomic layer deposition (ALD) of Al2O3. SR-PES and XAS showed that the electronic properties of hematite were modified by the interaction with TMA. In particular, the hybridization of O 2p states with Fe 3d and Fe 4s4p changed upon TMA pulses due to electron inclusion as polarons. The change of hybridization correlates with an enhancement of the photocurrent density due to water oxidation for the hematite electrodes. Such an enhancement has been associated with an improvement in charge carrier transport. Our findings open new perspectives for the understanding and utilization of electrode modifications by very thin ALD films and show that the interactions between metal precursors and substrates seem to be important factors in defining their electronic and photoelectrocatalytic properties.
The building Panta Rhei, home for the Chair of Applied Physics and Sensors (Prof. Dr. Dieter Schmeißer) at Brandenburg Universitxy of Technology. The main research area of the department is spectroscopic and micro spectroscopic investigation of layers and layer structures in order to get information about the electronic properties and the geometrical structures of several materials, such as high-k oxides, metal and mixed oxides, inter metallic interfaces, semiconductors, conducting and semiconducting polymers, and with recent focus graphene. In addition, the department is very active in the research area of atomic layer deposition (ALD). In particular the initial layer growth is in the focus of interest. The layer deposition as well as the characterization are done in situ = "(in situ)2", where the characterization can be performed "cycle by cycle". (further information)

The authors conclude that the ALD of Al2O3 based on TMA produces modifications in the electronic properties of α-Fe2O3 favoring the improvement of its photoelectrochemical behavior. Reactions between TMA and α-Fe2O3 induce electron donation to the substrate in the form of small polarons and modify the covalent character of the Fe−O bonds. These Fe2O3 surface modifications probably allow for an enhanced charge carrier transport next to the interface and explain the photoelectrochemical enhancement observed in hematite photoanodes. We believe that this work contributes to the understanding of some of the mechanisms underlying the enhancement of hematite photoanodes by means of surface modification and that it may open new avenues for further improving their performance in the context of water splitting.


A vision of a sustainable hydrogen fuel community based on Artificial photosynthesis (APS) has been described in man yplaces and in particular in a relatively recent review in Nature Photonics (here).


Vision of a sustainable hydrogen fuel community based on Artificial photosynthesis (APS) - Hydrogen is produced from an APS solar water-splitting power plant using seawater on floating ports, tankers and seashore plants. Electricity needed to operate such an infrastructure is provided by renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic, wind and tidal power. (Nature Photonics, 6 (2012) 511)


Friday, October 17, 2014

A Short History of Atomic Layer Deposition: Tuomo Suntola's Atomic Layer Epitaxy

Chem. Vap. Dep. Article first published online: 15 OCT 2014
DOI: 10.1002/cvde.201402012

Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is a thin film growth technique based on the repeated use of separate, saturating gas-solid reactions. The principle of ALD has been discovered twice; in the 1960s under the name “molecular layering” in the Soviet Union, and in the 1970s under the name “atomic layer epitaxy” (ALE) in Finland. In 2014, it is forty years since the filing of the worldwide patent on ALE as a method for the growth of compound thin films. This essay celebrates the fortieth anniversary of ALE-ALD, briefly telling the story of ALE as shared by its Finnish inventor, Dr. Tuomo Suntola. Initially, ALE was aimed at the growth of high-quality polycrystalline ZnS thin films for electroluminescent (EL) display panels. Gradually, the material selection of ALE increased, and the application areas were extended to photovoltaics, catalysis, semiconductor devices, and beyond. Fast, production-worthy ALE reactors were imperative for industrial success. The unprejudiced creation of new technologies and products with ALE, initiated by Dr. Tuomo Suntola and led by him until early 1998, are an integral part of the Finnish industrial history, the fruits of which are seen today in numerous applications worldwide.

Sven Lindfors in 1978 next to the flow-type ALD reactor in which the successful H2S/ZnCl2 process was demonstrated.


* The author thanks Tuomo Suntola for sharing these and other details of the development of ALE and EL. It has been a great honor and privilege to work with him and to write this history. Writing this history was triggered by the parallel-running worldwide Virtual Project on the History of ALD (VPHA). Warmest thanks to Tuomo Suntola for his support for the VPHA, too. The author also acknowledges Tapio Alvesalo for checking the details related to NAPS, Dr. Marko Tuominen for the details related to ASM Microchemistry, Juhana Kostamo for the details related to Picosun, Prof. Victor Drozd for confirming the timing of Suntola's visit to Leningrad, Prof. Yukihiro Shimogaki and Prof. Markku Leskelä for identifying the second-left participant in the ALE-1 photograph, and Prof. David Cameron for polishing the language in this article. Funding by the Academy of Finland's Centre of Excellence in Atomic Layer Deposition (ALDCoE) is gratefully acknowledged.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

3 min pitch - Protective coatings for silver cultural heritage objects using ALD

Novel protective coatings for silver alloy cultural heritage objects using atomic layer deposited metal oxide barrier films. This is one of the video pitches from the 17 PhD students from around the world who have made it to the final of a competition that challenges them to present their research in only three minutes.

2014 U21 3MT® Finalist - Amy Elizabeth Marquardt. Amy is a finalist in the U21 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition. If you like her presentation, please vote for it here: Voting ends October 20th.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Levitech 5 Year Anniversary - ALD4INDUSTRY Workshop

Levitech will celebrate its 5th Anniversary on Thursday October  30th, 2014 with a Workshop Program and an Anniversary Program  at Levitech in Almere. "For this day Levitech invited several national and international  speakers from the field of Atomic Layer Deposition. The topics of  these workshops are ‘ALD4IC’, ‘ALD4PV’ and ‘Innovation4PV’.  During the lunch buffet and dinner you have the opportunity to  network. Please join us on this day."

Thursday October 30, 2014 Levitech BV, Almere, The Netherlands

09.30 Welcome Workshop Program
09.55 Opening by Jaap Beijersbergen

Presentations ALD4IC

10.00 Suvi Haukka (ASM)
10.45 Sven van Elshocht (IMEC)

Presentation Innovation4Industry

11.15 Markus Fischer (Hanwha Q-Cells)
12.15 Lunch buffet

Presentations ALD4PV

13.15 Erwin Kessels (TUE)
14.00 Ilkay Cesar (ECN)
14.30 Willem Jan Huisman (ASM)
15.00 Ernst Granneman (Levitech)

15.30 Welcome Anniversary Program


16.00 Wim Sinke (ECN)
16.45 Jan Nico Appelman (Flevoland)
17.00 Levitech 5 Years Anniversary
17.30 Dinner


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Nanjing Tech University demonstartes paper-based membranes for oil/water separation by ALD

Nanjing Tech University demonstartes low-cost but highly efficient paper-based membranes for oil/water separation through hydrophobic modification to filter papers by ALD.
Liang Kong, Qianqian Wang, Sen Xiong, and Yong Wang
Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., September 30, 2014

It remains a great challenge for the simple and affordable production of membranes for oil/water separation. We prepare low-cost but highly efficient paper-based membranes for oil/water separation through hydrophobic modification to filter papers. The simple modification contains only two steps: a thin layer of aluminum oxide is first coated on the surface of the filter paper by atomic layer deposition, and silane molecules are subsequently coupled on the precoated aluminum oxide layer via their reaction with hydroxyl groups on the surface. Both the alumina layer and the silanization layer are very thin with a total thickness less than 10 nm. The modified filter paper is endowed with strong hydrophobicity and oleophilicity, therefore exhibits strongly retarded permeation to water and enhanced permeation to nonpolar oils. The modified filter paper is demonstrated to show excellent separation efficiencies greater than 90% in the separation of various types of oils and organic solvents from their mixtures with water. The paper-based membranes prepared in this work are distinguished among others for their low-cost substrates and simple modification route. This modification method is expected to be easily extended to hydrophobize a diversity of other substrates.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Voilà - 3rd ALD Lab Dresden Symposium at SEMICON Europa was a success!

For the 3rd time ALD Lab Dresden organised The ALD Lab Dresden Symposium at SEMICON Europa - this time in Grenoble, France. Our workshop, wants to stimulate discussions between developers of tools, consumables, as well as applicants of this exciting technology. Here are some pictures from the event.

Prof. Johan W. Bartha, Institut für Halbleiter- und Mikrosystemtechnik, TU Dresden, Germany introduces ALD Lab Dresden to the audiance and opens the Symposium with a talk on “Fundamental insight into ALD processing by in-situ observation”

Malte Czernohorsky, Fraunhofer IPMS-CNT, Dresden, Germany presenting results from the EU PICS Project "Development of innovative ALD materials and tools for high density 3D integrated capacitors"
Mickael Gros-Jean, ST Microelectronics, Grenoble, France giving a talk on "High permittivity dielectrics for CMOS FDSOI Gate first technologiess"
Stefan E. Schulz, Fraunhofer ENAS, Chenitz, Germany getting ready to give his talk on "ALD of Metals and Metal Oxides for Advanced Interconnect and Sensor Technology: In-Situ Investigations for the ALD of Copper"

Beneq expands local US service capabilities through Maxima Sciences

Beneq Thin Film Equipment has entered an agreement with Maxima Sciences of Cincinnati, Ohio, to offer maintenance and service closer to its customers located throughout North America. This collaboration will enable faster response times and local support for Beneq’s atomic layer deposition (ALD) customers.

Now, in addition to an existing service hub at the main office in Finland that supports European customers, and a service hub in Shanghai, China, serving customers throughout Asia, this agreement with Maxima Sciences fills the gap in service provision for the North American region. The service network expansion will enable Beneq to provide better and faster local support for more of its ALD customers when it comes to questions they may have with their processes or equipment.

Beneq’s services include spare parts, process and/or equipment upgrades, along with regular and periodic maintenance calls and audits. Additionally, Beneq’s coating service and application development capabilities can now be provided locally through Maxima Sciences.

Maxima Sciences is a custom scientific instrument design and fabrication specialist. Like Beneq, the company has ALD as one of its primary areas of expertise. Among the other services offered by Maxima Sciences are instrument design, precision machining, vacuum chambers and components, electronics, glass blowing and repairs.

“We’re excited about working closely with Beneq and taking advantage of the company’s strong ALD technology know-how. Both companies have considerable experience with ALD. With this agreement, we’re looking forward to teaming up with the world leader in this field,” says Dr Jacob Bertrand, President, Maxima Sciences.

The principal point of contact for service calls at Beneq is service(at) See our homepage for more information.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Scandinavian Nanotechnology Market Reports from AZO Nano

AZO Nano has published Market Reposrts on Scandinavian Nanotechnology (Norway is missing) The reports are available online and include the following :

  • A brief introduction to the key nanotechnology-related organizations
  • The major nanotechnology-related companies are listed below along with a brief introduction to each of them.
  • The leading academic institutes in that are offering courses and research programs in nanoscience and nanotechnology are listed

Direct links to the reports:

Nanotechnology in Sweden: Market Report
Nanotechnology in Finland: Market Report
Nanotechnology in Denmark: Market Report

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Stanford Nanofabrication Facility Labmembers Wiki

The Stanford Nanofabrication Facility has a SNF Labmembers Wiki open to read for everyone describing all equipment and processes they are operating - impressive! : "This wiki site is for and by the SNF lab community. It's a resource for working inside the lab, serving as a dynamic reference as well as historical archive. For more general topics about SNF (such programs in education, how to join, directions, history) please see the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility Home Page.  A login is not needed to view public information, only to contribute.  If you are a labmember wishing to contribute, contact an SNF staff member for access."
Some useful ALD information that I found while surfing around among other equipment for nanofabrication : 
Detailed information on ALD tools and processes operated by SNF:
  • Savannah S200 from Cambridge Nanotech/Ultratech
  • A system called MVD that is a system consisting of a glovebox, plasma cleaner, and Savannah ALD tool which is used to deposit organic SAMS layers
  • 3(!) Fiji ALD system from Cambridge Nanotech/Ultratech dedictaed for different processes
ALD introductory tutorial and In-depth tutorial presented by Dr. J Provine 11/1/12 at Stanford University
A system called MVD that is a system consisting of a glovebox, plasma cleaner, and Savannah ALD tool which is used to deposit organic SAMS layers (picture from SNF wiki)
Tour of the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility we look at some of the key steps and equipment involved in nanofabrication. at 09:45 the introduce ALD and a Fiji reactor and starting a run on a Savannah. (Youtube).

Friday, October 3, 2014

ALD of LiFePO4 as a High-Performance Cathode for Lithium-Ion Batteries

Dr. Sun’s Nanomaterials & Energy Group at University of Western Ontario just published a very interesting paper on lithium iron phosphate by ALD for 3D solid state microbatteries in Advanced Materials. 

Western Engineering professor Andy Sun, Canada Research Chair in Development of Nanomaterials for Clean Energy, is working toward increasing the performance of electric cars, by using lithium iron phosphate batteries (Professor charges toward better battery life).

Jian Liu, Mohammad N. Banis, Qian Sun, Andrew Lushington, Ruying Li, Tsun-Kong Sham, and Xueliang Sun
Adv. Mater. 2014, 26, 6472–6477
The atomic layer deposition technique is successfully applied to synthesize lithium iron phosphate using rationally designed surface reactions, as demonstrated for the first time by X. Sun and co-workers on page 6472. The lithium iron phosphate exhibits high power density, excellent rate capability, and ultra-long lifetime, showing great potential in vehicular lithium batteries and 3D all-solid-state microbatteries.

Herein, for the fi rst time, we develop an ALD approach to grow LiFePO 4*, as a typical example of quaternary LiMPO 4 cathode materials, by carefully tailoring the surface reactions that occur. Distinguished from solid-state reactions and solution chemistries, the ALD approach employs self-limiting, vapor-based surface reactions to deposit LiFePO 4 in a layer-bylayer manner (Fe 2 O 3 , PO x , and Li 2 O subcycles). In this way, the ALD approach permits precise control over the thickness and film composition of LiFePO 4 at the atomic level. This unprecedented accuracy promises a versatile design of nanostructured LiFePO4 on various types of substrates (in particular with high aspect ratio), and extends the employment of LiFePO4 to a broader range of applications, especially in 3D all-solid state microbatteries for autonomous micro-devices. Moreover, LiFePO 4 is deposited on carbon nanotubes (CNTs) by ALD to form LiFePO4 /CNT nanocomposite, aiming at breaking through the rate-capability bottleneck typically for pristine LiFePO4 . Excitingly, the LiFePO 4 /CNT electrode exhibits excellent rate capability, high power density, and ultra-long cycling lifetime, which are desirable properties for vehicular LIBs. Our work provides a new method for well-defined fabrication of high-powered.

* Amorphous LiFePO 4 at 300 °C with the use of ferrocene (FeCp2), ozone (O3), trimethylphosphate (TMPO), water (H2O), and lithium t -butoxide (LiOtBu) as precursors.
Here is an earlier review form 2012 :
Emerging Applications of Atomic Layer Dposition for Lithium-ion Battery Studies

X. Meng, X.-Q. Yang, X. Sun
Adv. Mater. 24 (2012) 3589-3615.
Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are used widely in today's consumer electronics and offer great potential for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in HEVs, pure EVs, and also in smart grids as future energy-storage devices. However, many challenges must be addressed before these future applications of LIBs are realized, such as the energy and power density of LIBs, their cycle and calendar life, safety characteristics, and costs. Recently, a technique called atomic layer deposition (ALD) attracted great interest as a novel tool and approach for resolving these issues. In this article, recent advances in using ALD for LIB studies are thoroughly reviewed, covering two technical routes: 1) ALD for designing and synthesizing new LIB components, i.e., anodes, cathodes, and solid electrolytes, and; 2) ALD used in modifying electrode properties via surface coating. This review will hopefully stimulate more extensive and insightful studies on using ALD for developing high-performance LIBs.