Growth behavior of Ir metal formed by atomic layer deposition in the nanopores of anodic aluminum oxide†
The conformal coating or surface modification in high aspect ratio nanostructures is a tough challenge using traditional physical/chemical vapor deposition, especially for metal deposition. In this work, the growth behavior of iridium (Ir) metal formed by atomic layer deposition (ALD) in anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) templates was explored deeply. It is found that the surface hydrophilicity is crucial for the nucleation of ALD Ir. An in situ ALD Al2O3 layer with an ultra-hydrophilic surface can greatly promote the nucleation of ALD Ir in AAO nanopores. The effect of the Ir precursor pulse time, diameter, and length of AAO nanopores on the infiltration depth of ALD Ir was investigated systematically. The results show that the infiltration depth of ALD Ir in AAO nanopores is in proportion to the pore diameter and the square root of the Ir precursor pulse time, which follows a diffusion-limited model. Furthermore, the Ir precursor pulse time to obtain conformal Ir coating throughout all the AAO channels is in proportion to the square of the aspect ratio of AAO templates. In addition, the conformal Ir deposition in AAO nanopores is also related to the Ir precursor purge time and the O2 partial pressure. Insufficient Ir purge time could cause a CVD-like reaction, leading to the reduction of the infiltration depth in AAO. Higher O2 partial pressure can facilitate Ir nucleation with more Ir precursor consumption at the entrance of nanopores, decreasing the infiltration depth in AAO nanopores, so appropriate O2 partial pressure should be chosen for ALD Ir in high aspect ratio materials. Above all, our research is valuable for surface modification or coating of metal by ALD in high aspect ratio nanostructures for 3D microelectronics, nano-fabrication, catalysis and energy fields.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Spotlight Collection: Atomic and Molecular Layer Deposition