A method of depositing contiguous, conformal submonolayer-to-multilayer thin films with atomic-level control is described. The process involves the use of underpotential deposition of a first element to mediate the growth of a second material by overpotential deposition. Deposition occurs between a potential positive to the bulk deposition potential for the mediating element where a full monolayer of mediating element forms, and a potential which is less than, or only slightly greater than, the bulk deposition potential of the material to be deposited. By cycling the applied voltage between the bulk deposition potential for the mediating element and the material to be deposited, repeated desorption/adsorption of the mediating element during each potential cycle can be used to precisely control film growth on a layer-by-layer basis. This process is especially suitable for the formation of a catalytically active layer on core-shell particles for use in energy conversion devices such as fuel cells.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT LICENSE RIGHTS
The present invention was made with government support under Grant No. DE-AC02-98CH10886 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Division of Chemical and Material Sciences. The United States government has certain rights in the invention.