Research

Our group is mainly interested in the development of precursors and processes for atomic layer deposition (ALD), and we were the first academic research group in Canada to work in this field. As synthetic chemists, we try to determine the mechanism of the surface chemistry and thermal decomposition routes to better design precursors and tune our processes. We look at many different processes and target films, but some themes can broadly be drawn through our work.

Metals

We have been interested in group 11 metals for several years, and have contributed to precursor and process design for copper and gold metal ALD solutions.
We employ guanidinates, iminopyrrolidinates, and silylamides as anionic ligands for copper metal precursors, occasionally employing carbenes as a neutral coordination ligand to complete the coordination environment for Cu(I). The best example of a precursor is a hexamethyldisilazido N-heterocycliccarbene copper(I) that deposits using a thermal process on a noble metal or with plasma hydrogen on silicon and glass.
We have also reported the first ALD deposition of gold metal using plasma oxygen and water. This process uses a trimethyl trimethylphosphine gold(III) precursor that is a liquid at room temperature and exhibits a surprising stability to oxygen and water.

Optical Fibres as Substrates

With collaborators in the electronics department at Carlton, we have done a significant amount of work on depositing metal and non-metal films on optical fibres with Bragg gratings printed in their core. These "tilted fibre Bragg gratings" (TFBGs) can be used to sense the index of refraction around the fibre due to light propogating to the fibre's cladding/air interface. With gold metal, we have shown that TFBGs are the most sensitive to refractive index changes and suspect that ALD of gold on fibres will drastically improve their performance.

Group 13 Precursors

We have been interested in group 13 chemistry from our first group publication, and have published several mechanistic thermal studies and process development papers. We remain interested in gallium precursors like this diethyl amidinato gallium(III) compound because of the difficulty in tuning these precursors to thermal deposition of nitrides.
We have found that the trisguanidinato compounds are easy-to-make precursors with a lot of promise, and continue to look at precursors like this trisguanidinato indium(III) compound that undergoes chemical vapour deposition at moderate teperatures with water to for thin indium oxide films.

Funding


Canadian Foundation
for Innovation

Carleton
University

Ontario
Research Fund

Royal
Canadian
Mint

Vinnova

NSERC