Our research centres around the design of precursor molecules for chemical vapour deposition (CVD) and atomic layer deposition (ALD).
ALD is a sequential deposition method where one "atomically thin" layer of a target film is grown in a cycle, and the number of cycles are repeated until the desired thickness is reached. It is slow, but exceptionally careful, and it can cover complex surfaces that other techniques cannot.
We have studied guanidinate chemistry extensively, since these ligands enhance volatility, which is a key characteristic of a good precursor. However, the both of the amidinates and guanidinates show a propensity to deinsert carbodiimide, as well as to undergo beta-hydrogen elimination under favourable conditions.
Thus, we now study a family of related ligands: amidinates, guanidinates, and iminopyrrolidinates. These disallow deinsertion and abstraction to varying degrees, and we are interested in how fine our control of these processes can be.
Our applications are focused on deposition of metal films on oxide surfaces, and depostion of oxide materials on metal surfaces.
The deposition of metals is an ongoing area of interest in microelectronics to deposit "interconnects" (i.e. wiring) for microelectronic devices. We have an project on the enhancement of copper-based precursors to increase both their volatility and thermal stability. Here is the promotional flyer.
This interest in copper naturally leads us into studying silver and gold. Both of these metals are becoming interesting for applications in sensing.