From Precursor Chemistry to Gas Sensors: Plasma-Enhanced Atomic Layer Deposition Process Engineering for Zinc Oxide Layers from a Nonpyrophoric Zinc Precursor for Gas Barrier and Sensor Applications

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  • Lukas Mai, Ruhr University Bochum
  • ,
  • Felix Mitschker, Ruhr University Bochum
  • ,
  • Claudia Bock, Ruhr University Bochum
  • ,
  • Alessia Niesen, paragon GmbH & Co KGaA
  • ,
  • Engin Ciftyurek, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
  • ,
  • Detlef Rogalla, Ruhr University Bochum
  • ,
  • Johannes Mickler, paragon GmbH & Co KGaA
  • ,
  • Matthias Erig, paragon GmbH & Co KGaA
  • ,
  • Zheshen Li
  • Peter Awakowicz, Ruhr University Bochum
  • ,
  • Klaus Schierbaum, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
  • ,
  • Anjana Devi, Ruhr University Bochum

The identification of bis-3-(N,N-dimethylamino)propyl zinc ([Zn(DMP)2], BDMPZ) as a safe and potential alternative to the highly pyrophoric diethyl zinc (DEZ) as atomic layer deposition (ALD) precursor for ZnO thin films is reported. Owing to the intramolecular stabilization, BDMPZ is a thermally stable, volatile, nonpyrophoric solid compound, however, it possesses a high reactivity due to the presence of Zn-C and Zn-N bonds in this complex. Employing this precursor, a new oxygen plasma enhanced (PE)ALD process in the deposition temperature range of 60 and 160 °C is developed. The resulting ZnO thin films are uniform, smooth, stoichiometric, and highly transparent. The deposition on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) at 60 °C results in dense and compact ZnO layers for a thickness as low as 7.5 nm with encouraging oxygen transmission rates (OTR) compared to the bare PET substrates. As a representative application of the ZnO layers, the gas sensing properties are investigated. A high response toward NO2 is observed without cross-sensitivities against NH3 and CO. Thus, the new PEALD process employing BDMPZ has the potential to be a safe substitute to the commonly used DEZ processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1907506
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

    Research areas

  • atomic layer deposition, gas barrier layers, gas sensors, zinc oxide, zinc precursors

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