Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How to build your ALD reactors for less than $10,000

A publication on how grad students at Central Michigan University construct ALD reactors for less than $10,000. One hot wall tube reactor and a cold-wall reactor equiped with QCM sensor for in-situ growth studies.

Cost-Effective Systems for Atomic Layer Deposition
Michael Lubitz, Phillip A. Medina, Aleks Antic, Joseph T. Rosin, and Bradley D. 
Publication Date (Web): May 12, 2014
Journal of Chemical Education - (ACS Publications and Division of Chemical Education)

Abstract: Herein, we describe the design and testing of two different home-built atomic layer deposition (ALD) systems for the growth of thin films with sub-monolayer control over film thickness. The first reactor is a horizontally aligned hot-walled reactor with a vacuum purging system. The second reactor is a vertically aligned cold-walled reactor with a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) and a vacuum purging system. This latter reactor was also built to be capable of the addition of liquid- or solution-phase precursors, including the addition of a solution-based precursor containing nanoparticles. Each system cost less than $10,000, and they were used to deposit aluminum oxide thin films using trimethylaluminum and water/isopropyl alcohol as coreactants. Whereas the horizontal hot-walled system was able to deposit alumina thin films at a growth rate of 1.2–1.4 Å/cycle, the more sophisticated vertically aligned reactor deposited films at 0.95–1.1 Å/cycle, which is comparable to commercial systems costing $100,000 or more. Most importantly, both systems were fabricated entirely by M.S. and undergraduate students at Central Michigan University.
Upper left, a hot-wall tube reactor and right a cold-wall reactor equiped with QCM sensor for in-situ growth studies.(images fromgraphical abstract)  

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