Thursday, October 31, 2019

Atomic layer deposited Pt-Ru dual-metal dimers and identifying their active sites for hydrogen evolution reaction

Here is an interesting article on how to nucleate ALD on the rather inert CNT surface, or rather nitrogen doped CNTs. It seems to be straight forward:

1. NCNT synthesis by ultrasonic spray pyrolysis according with imidazole as carbon and nitrogen source, and ferrocene as the catalyst precursor.

2.  Thermal ALD in a CNT Savannah 100 using MeCpPtMe3 and bis(ethylcyclopentadienyl)ruthenium respectively. 

Atomic layer deposited Pt-Ru dual-metal dimers and identifying their active sites for hydrogen evolution reaction
Zhang, L., Si, R., Liu, H. et al. Nat Commun 10, 4936 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41467-019-12887-y

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Single atom catalysts exhibit particularly high catalytic activities in contrast to regular nanomaterial-based catalysts. Until recently, research has been mostly focused on single atom catalysts, and it remains a great challenge to synthesize bimetallic dimer structures. Herein, we successfully prepare high-quality one-to-one A-B bimetallic dimer structures (Pt-Ru dimers) through an atomic layer deposition (ALD) process. The Pt-Ru dimers show much higher hydrogen evolution activity (more than 50 times) and excellent stability compared to commercial Pt/C catalysts. X-ray absorption spectroscopy indicates that the Pt-Ru dimers structure model contains one Pt-Ru bonding configuration. First principle calculations reveal that the Pt-Ru dimer generates a synergy effect by modulating the electronic structure, which results in the enhanced hydrogen evolution activity. This work paves the way for the rational design of bimetallic dimers with good activity and stability, which have a great potential to be applied in various catalytic reactions. 

Schematic illustration of ALD synthesis of Pt–Ru dimers on nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes (NCNTs). Firstly, the Pt single atoms were deposited by using MeCpPtMe3 as the precursor. Then the Pt–Ru dimers were prepared by selective deposition of Ru atoms on Pt single atoms. Gray: C, Blue: N, yellow: Pt, red: Ru

ASM International settles with Kokusai for Batch ALD patent licenses (US$61 million)

October 29, 2019, 12.15 p.m. CET (LINK) ASM International N.V. (Euronext Amsterdam: ASM) today announces that it has entered into a settlement agreement with Kokusai Electric Corporation (formerly known as Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc. and hereinafter referred to as “KEC”) to resolve the arbitration proceeding relating to the license agreement which expired in November 2017. As part of this settlement, KEC will pay ASM an amount of US$61 million. With this settlement all pending disputes between ASM and KEC with respect to patent licenses have been resolved.

As announced on February 23, 2018, ASM initiated an arbitration proceeding on August 30, 2017 with the American Arbitration Association against KEC for breach of the license agreement between the companies. This license agreement provided KEC and its affiliates a license under certain patents of ASM in the field of Batch ALD. The companies have now entered into a settlement agreement concerning all the matters of the arbitration.

This arbitration settlement is separate from the settlement of all patent lawsuits and invalidation proceedings between ASM and KEC that was announced on July 1, 2019.

The settlement of the arbitration will positively impact ASMI’s sales and bookings in Q4 2019 with an amount of US$61 million, or approximately €56 million.

- Applied Materials to buy Japan's Kokusai to boost memory chip business and ALD (LINK)

- ASM International settles (US$115 million) with Kokusai Electric Corporation on the use and infringement of ALD patents  (LINK)

Friday, October 18, 2019

LG Technology Ventures & Mitsui Kinzoku-SBI Material Innovation Fund Join Forge Nano Inc. Series A

LOUISVILLE, Colo., Sept. 5, 2019 (LINK) — Mitsui Kinzoku-SBI Material Innovation Fund and LG Technology Ventures join in Forge Nano’s Series A, bringing the total investment to date to $18M, up from Volkswagen’s initial $10Minvestment announced in January 2019.

The investment will help to accelerate advanced materials for new battery technologies while also broadening applications for atomic-level nano-coatings into a diverse set of new markets. Forge Nano’s technology paves the way for entirely new applications for nanoscale surface engineering. Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is an ultra-thin film deposition process that allows precision coatings that are the thickness of one atom to be deposited one layer at a time onto a surface. Forge Nano’s ALD enabled core-shell battery materials have been demonstrated to improve the energy density, charge rate, cycle life, and safety of lithium-ion batteries as well as to enable next generation battery technologies.

Beyond batteries, ALD nano-coatings are enabling the next era of higher performance materials for catalysts, 3D printing, thermal fillers, separations and an array of other new market applications. Virtually any application using industrial powders that benefit from tuned surface properties but require precise, uniform and conformal coatings that are chemically bonded to the surface can now use ALD nano-coatings to unlock the next level of performance and value.“Forge’s proprietary nano-coating technology and high-throughput manufacturing processes will open the door for a new stage of high performance materials. A collaboration between Forge Nano and Mitsui Kinzoku will accelerate the production of high performance materials and provide our customershigh value products in various market.”

Cornell NanoScale Facility (CNF) and Plasma-Therm Collaborate on Atomic Layer Etching (ALE)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. October 16, 2019 (LINK) — The Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF), a leading university research facility at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY and Plasma-Therm LLC, an innovator in plasma processing technology, located in St. Petersburg, FL, announce a joint development agreement (JDA) to advance atomic layer etching (ALE) for nanoscale device fabrication. Under this agreement, Plasma-Therm will provide a state-of-the-art ALE system, while CNF will provide ALE process and device development on a wide range of materials serving a broad research community.

The Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF) is a scientific user facility and cleanroom which is located at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The CNF is one of the sixteen members of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) (Wikipedia).

ALE is derived from its deposition counterpart atomic layer deposition (ALD) in that it is composed of sequential self-limiting chemical steps, essentially etching one atomic layer per cycle. This process thus provides the precise control and low damage etching required for the fabrication of advanced nanostructure devices.

Vince Genova, a research staff member leading the ALE effort at Cornell, states “Our acquisition of ALE and our collaboration with Plasma-Therm will ensure that CNF can meet the many challenges posed by the increasingly complex fabrication requirements of nanoscale photonics, advanced III-V devices, 2D electronics, magnetic, and quantum-based device applications.”

CNF operates as an open user facility for nanofabrication, open to academic, industrial, and government users, and is part of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) an NSF-sponsored network of 16 regional user facilities. CNF will be the first site within NNCI to acquire ALE, adding a tremendous asset to the fabrication capabilities of NNCI.

The CNF has had a long-term relationship with Plasma-Therm since the early 1980s and presently has 6 etch platforms including 4 inductively coupled plasma (ICP) chambers serving its extensive user community. CNF values Plasma-Therm’s sustained commitment to service and technical expertise in plasma processing solutions and looks forward to implementing the most advanced etching technique in the semiconductor industry to push the boundaries of nanofabrication.

Dwarakanath Geerpuram, Plasma-Therm’s Director of Product Development Engineering said “The joint development program with Cornell is another example of Plasma-Therm’s focus on partnering with our customers in developing next generation technologies. We are proud of our association with the CNF and look forward to enabling the growth and adoption of ALE technology.”

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 - A highly competitive breeding ground for new IP

The motivation for this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry reads "for the development of lithium-ion batteries". John B. Goodenough (The University of Texas at Austin, USA), M. Stanley Whittingham (Binghamton University, State University of New York, USA) and Akira Yoshino (Asahi Kasei Corporation, Tokyo, Japan and Meijo University, Nagoya, Japan) receive the award as well as SEK 3 million each.

The basis for the lithium-ion battery was laid during the oil crisis in the 1970s. Lithium-ion batteries are light, rechargeable, and powerful batteries that are used in everything from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles (EVs). The lithium battery cells can also be deployed in systems to store vast amounts of energy produced by solar and wind power, which enables a fossil-free society.
The battery technology that has conquered the world

Since the first lithium-ion batteries came on the market in 1991, they have entirely changed the existence throughout the world. They have laid the foundation for a wireless and fossil-free society, and are today of enormous benefit to humanity. If we look at the lithium-ion battery from a technical and innovative perspective and link the technology area to patents, we see an explosive increase in patent applications between the years 2008-2017, a period when battery technology has penetrated the world market. Some of the large companies that have been inspired by the Nobel Prize winners and their technical achievements are: Tesla (USA), Toyota (Japan), Volkswagen (Germany), BASF (Germany), Umicore (Belgium), CATL (China) and Northvolt (Sweden), which is currently establishing itself in northern Sweden. These are companies active across the complete value chain, from raw materials suppliers, battery cell production to end-user consumer applications.

A minefield for new patent applications

The companies and innovators who are now entering the lithium-ion technology business and are considering applying for patents, no matter what application area they intend to work in, are entering a veritable minefield. It is an extremely challenging area for new patent applications. The situation places high demands on qualified analysis of both the main technology area, adjoining technology areas, market situations, the actions of existing players and new players' strategies. Here, adequate patent information in the hands of an expert in patent information can straighten out many question marks, not least because the patent data consists of both technical, legal, and business-related information.

To see what the others do not see

When I, as an expert in seeking, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from patent information, launches, both the historical, the current, and the future perspectives, are at stake. Drawing conclusions from historical patent data and translating it into future potential is an unusual ability that not many commands.

The amount of patent data, the variety of data, and the speed at which new patent data is published are continuously increasing. Properly handled and, above all, adequately analyzed, patent data can increase insights, support business decisions, and create new values and stronger negotiating positions for your company. I think it is a waste not to use the power of patent data more than is done today.

Contact me so we take a closer look at a technology area that is important to your company's future.

Ervin Dubaric

Guest Blog by Dr. Ervin Dubaric, Patent Information Specialist at Bergenstråhle & Partners, Stockholm, Sweden

Intel Oregon is looking for young CVD, ALD and PVD experts

[Intel, Hillsboro Oregon, USA] We are hiring Ph.D. candidates or recently received a Ph.D. degree in the metals thin-film area. We are giving priorities to the candidates who have exceptional backgrounds in physical vapor deposition (PVD), chemical vapor deposition (CVD), atomic layer deposition (ALD), and/or Electrodeposition fields. Strong plasma physics and vacuum science knowledge will be needed for PVD, CVD, and ALD deposition area candidates. 
 Intels Fab D1X in Oregon USA (
We are also looking for candidates with synthetic chemistry backgrounds for CVD/MOCVD (metal-organic chemical vapor deposition) precursor development. In the Electrodeposition area, we are looking for candidates with a strong background in electrochemistry, plating related thin film deposition.

Generic Job description can be found here -

Please send me your resume directly to
Guest Blog by Dr. Shaestagir Chowdhury, Principal Engineer at Intel Corporation, Hillsboro, Oregon

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

What can Atomic Layer Deposition do for solar cells

Here is an excellent article by Pro. Kessels and Dr Bart from TU Eindhoven on the current status of Atomic Layer Deposition in the solar industry ( LINK).

ALD PV applications:

  • ALD for passivation layers and passivating contacts
  • ALD for transparent conductive oxides (TCOs)
  • ALD in the upcoming field of perovskites and tandem cells

Potential new applications for ALD in PV:

  • ALD Al2O3 for hydrogenation of poly-Si passivating contacts
  • ALD for hybrid metal halide perovskite and Si-perovskite tandems


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Lund University Holding invests in newly started AlixLabs

LU Holding invests in newly started AlixLabs, which have developed a method to manufacture electronic circuits for the semiconductor industry in a very cost-effective way.

[Published on September 27, 2019: Original in Swedish: LINK]

Researchers from NanoLund have developed and patented the method and all three, Jonas Sundqvist, Dmitry Suyatin, and Sabbir Kahn, are part of the newly started company (AlixLabs AB), and Co-founder Stefan Svedberg joins as CEO. Svedberg was previously Director of Corporate Development at Ericsson.

Displaying the Edge Effect: This is a new method of nanostructure fabrication using the atomic layer etching process, which is inherently a damage-free etch process. The recently discovered etching process selectivity to inclined surfaces, can be used as a mask and in this way walls of tapered structures. The inclined surfaces can be readily fabricated by e.g. dry etching or epitaxial growth, and will provide masking during the atomic layer etching process. This process therefore provides access to fabrication of extremely small structures in a very precise and efficient way.

Electronic circuits are needed in all types of hardware, but the cost of producing them has increased as the electronics become smaller. With the AlixLab method, which is based on a recently identified physical phenomenon, the manufacturing process of the electronic circuits becomes both faster and significantly cheaper.

Dr. Dmitry Suyatin, Co-founder and CTO and Dr. Jonas Sundqvist, Co-founder and Senior Technical Adviser at AlixLabs inspecting the new Atomic Layer Etching Equipment at Lund Nano Lab from PlasmaTherm.
"AlixLabs has an exciting technology, and now we have a good team in place," says Erik Larsson, portfolio manager at LU Holding.

Alixlabs plans to implement an expanded proof of concept in 2020 as the basis for continued customer discussions.
AlixLabs Team : LINK

Short cources in ALD and ALE Jaunuary 14-15 in Eindhoven (NL)

On January 14-15 the ALD Academy will organize some courses on ALD and ALE (=Atomic Layer Etching) in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. You can register per individual course. See the website for more details.


High device performance of unique ALD-IGZO TFTs to look forward to expanding application area to semiconductor

Amorphous In-Ga-Zn-O (IGZO) materials have been mainly employed as channel materials for the backplane TFTs of flat panel displays (FPDs) owing to their superior characteristics of excellent uniformity, high on/off current ratio, and superior carrier mobility to other amorphous oxide semiconductors. Recently, IGZO thin films have been actively researched for high-end future electronic applications such as TFTs of DRAM and NAND which are typical semiconductor memory devices as well as transparent flexible displays, sensors and logic architectures.

Especially, considering indispensable three dimension architectures of the memory devices for high functional AI semiconductors, the interest in application of IGZO TFTs has been rapidly increased because they are satisfied with the requirement of low power consumption and low operation temperature.

The atomic layer deposition (ALD) method is resulting in better film quality even at a lower deposition temperature. Furthermore, the film thickness and composition can always be precisely controlled at the atomic scale with excellent conformality and higher film density. However, ALD process for IGZO as multi-component materials has the difficulty of control between metal precursors and oxidants.

Variations in transfer curves with the lapse of stress time for 104 s under PB(T)S conditions for Dev. (a) A(1:1:1) and B(1:1:3) at RT and for Dev. (c) A and (d) B at 60℃. (VGS= +20V, VDS= 10.5 V)*

The targeted atomic compositions (In:Ga:Zn) of ALD-IGZO films were acquired by controlling the ALD cycle ratios using the unique ALD method to clear this issue. The device employing (1:1:3) composition exhibited the most desirable characteristics from the viewpoint of excellent bias stability, and they were found to be superior to those by the conventional sputtered-deposited IGZO TFTs.

Therefore, this method to control the compositions of IGZO could be a core technology to guarantee high performance and robust stability for various future ALD-IGZO thin film applications.

Si wafer based batch ALD cluster system

NCD has been developing high throughput batch ALD-IGZO system using the unique technology capable of controlling the designed atomic compositions of IGZO for etch applications. This system could provide the excellent quality competiveness and functional stability as well as high throughput in production of 3D complex architectures such as future Logic, DRAM and NAND devices expected to apply ALD-IGZO thin films.

*Journal of Materials Chemistry C, 2019, 7, 6059, Cationic compositional effects on the bias-stress stabilities of thin film transistors using In-Ga-Zn-O channels prepared by atomic layer deposition, Seung-Bo Ko, Nak-Jin Seong, Kyujeong Choi, So-Jung Yoon, Se-Na Choi, and Sung-Min Yoon. DOI: 10.1039/c9tc01164a

Link :

Friday, October 4, 2019

Global Market Remains Strong for ALD & CVD Precursors in IC Fabs

San Diego, CA, October 2, 2019: TECHCET—the advisory services firm providing electronic materials information— announced that the global market for atomic layerdeposition (ALD) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) precursors is showing strong
growth despite semiconductor fabrication market challenges in 2019. CVD growth is mainly in plasma-enhanced CVD (PECVD) and metal-organic CVD (MOCVD) for silicon ICs and for newer devices including micro-displays, RF for 5G, and photonics. The
combined ALD and CVD metal precursor market is estimated to be approximately US$582M in 2019 growing 6.3% from the prior year and forecasted to grow above US$930M by 2025, as detailed in the latest Critical Materials Report™ (CMR) on ALD /
High-K Metal Precursors (see Figure).

Advanced Metal ALD/CVD Precursor Revenues Forecast
“Today, the top three suppliers ADEKA, Air Liquide, and Versum dominate the market by controlling ~75% of the segments,” explained Dr. Jonas Sundqvist, TECHCET senior technology analyst and author of the report. “However, due to the recent development that Merck will acquire Versum, there is a good chance that by doing so it will become the number one supplier for all type of metal, High-κ, and dielectric precursors.” The CVD, ALD, and SOD market includes from both specialty gases (e.g. WF6) and liquid precursors, as well as a considerable segment of solid precursors (e.g. HfCl4, PDMAT). In addition, there are smaller segments for precursors that still do not reach annual sales of >US$5 million such as ruthenium and rare earth elements (REE).
This report covers the following suppliers: ADEKA, Air Liquide, Air Products, AZmax Co., BASF, DNF Co., Entegris, Epivalence, FujiFilm, Gelest, Hansol Chemical, H.C.Starck, Kojundo, Linde (Praxair), Mecaro, Merck EMD, Nanmat, Norquay, Pegasus
Chemicals, Soulbrain, Strem, Tanaka Kikinzoku Group, Tokyo Chemical Industry Co.,Tri Chemical Laboratories, Umicore, UP Chemical (Yoke), and Versum.

Purchase ALD/CVD Reports Here: TECHCET Reports