Relation between Reactive Surface Sites and Precursor Choice for Area-Selective Atomic Layer Deposition Using Small Molecule Inhibitors
Implementation of vapor/phase dosing of small molecule inhibitors (SMIs) in advanced atomic layer deposition (ALD) cycles is currently being considered for bottom-up fabrication by area-selective ALD. When SMIs are used, it can be challenging to completely block precursor adsorption due to the inhibitor size and the relatively short vapor/phase exposures. Two strategies for precursor blocking are explored: (i) physically covering precursor adsorption sites, i.e., steric shielding, and (ii) eliminating precursor adsorption sites from the surface, i.e., chemical passivation. In this work, it is determined whether steric shielding is enough for effective precursor blocking during area-selective ALD or whether chemical passivation is required as well. At the same time, we address why some ALD precursors are more difficult to block than others. To this end, the blocking of the Al precursor molecules trimethylaluminum (TMA), dimethylaluminum isopropoxide (DMAI), and tris(dimethylamino)aluminum (TDMAA) was studied by using acetylacetone (Hacac) as inhibitor. It was found that DMAI and TDMAA are more easily blocked than TMA because they adsorb on the same surface sites as Hacac, while TMA is also reactive with other surface sites. This work shows that chemical passivation plays a crucial role for precursor blocking in concert with steric shielding. Moreover, the reactivity of the precursor with the surface groups on the non-growth area dictates the effectiveness of blocking precursor adsorption.
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American Chemical Society (ACS)
Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 126 (126), 4845–4853