Skip to Content
Find More Like This
Return to Search

PAD: Polymer-Assisted Deposition of Metal-Oxide and Metal-Nitride Films

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Contact LANL About This Technology

A researcher applies a few drops of a water-based PAD solution to a silicon wafer mounted on a spin-coater.
A researcher applies a few drops of a water-based PAD solution to a silicon wafer mounted on a spin-coater.

Technology Marketing SummaryPolymer-Assisted Deposition (PAD) works with a wide range of metal-oxide and metal nitride films. Simply put, “problematic” metal oxides and metal nitrides are not a problem for PAD. PAD can be used for the high-quality deposition of metal oxides and metal nitrides for the successful production of both simple and complex metal-oxide films such as TiO2, ITO, SrTiO3, TiN, AlN, and GaN. In addition, nitrides, sulfides, and carbides could potentially be deposited using this process.DescriptionMetal-oxide and metal-nitride films are essential parts of semiconductors. These types of films can also have benefits as coatings that are resistant to a number of environmental effects. Unfortunately, growing metal-oxide and metal-nitride films requires large, expensive equipment. Capital costs for a single metal-oxide or metal-nitride film deposition machine can run from $500,000 to $3.5 million, and only very small films can be grown using traditional methods. We have developed a simple process for using polymers to grow large quantities of high-quality metal-oxide and metal-nitride films. Rather than spray a precise amount of material in a high vacuum (which requires the expensive equipment), we solubilize the metal oxides and metal nitrides in inexpensive polymers, then bake off the polymer, leaving a uniform thin film of metal oxide deposited on
the substrate. Our process is equivalent in quality to industry-standard chemical vapor deposition, yet much cheaper. Polymer-assisted deposition (PAD) is cost effective and can be used to cover much larger areas of substrates with metal-oxides and metal nitrides. PAD is also superior to sol-gel methods because PAD can be used with many more metal oxides and metal nitrides; the thin film is uniform and not susceptible to cracking; and because the metal oxide stoichiometry can be precisely controlled. Currently, the semiconductor industry spends $990 million annually on vacuum-based thin-film deposition machines. Another $260 million are spent for thin-film deposition machines outside the semiconductor industry. Thus, the total addressable market is roughly $1.25 billion. PAD could form the core of a business based on either a pure licensing model or a direct-sales-to-industry model.
Benefits
  • Ability to control exact stoichiometry of nitride in the thin film
  • Resistant to cracking as is traditional with sol-gel processes
  • Uniform and homogeneous film thickness
  • Less expensive than vacuum-related deposition processes
  • Enables control of structure of film (e.g., amorphous, composite, polycrystalline, nanocrystalline, microcrystalline, e)pitaxy
Applications and Industries
  • Wide-band semiconductors, LEDs, optics (e.g., lasers)
  • Opto-electric materials and components
  • Hardened coatings
  • Microelectronics
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Patent 6,589,457
Patent
6,589,457
Polymer-assisted aqueous deposition of metal oxide films
An organic solvent-free process for deposition of metal oxide thin films is presented. The process includes aqueous solutions of necessary metal precursors and an aqueous solution of a water-soluble polymer. After a coating operation, the resultant coating is fired at high temperatures to yield optical quality metal oxide thin films.
Los Alamos National Laboratory 07/08/2003
Issued
Patent 7,365,118
Patent
7,365,118
Polymer-assisted deposition of films
A polymer assisted deposition process for deposition of metal oxide films is presented. The process includes solutions of one or more metal precursor and soluble polymers having binding properties for the one or more metal precursor. After a coating operation, the resultant coating is heated at high temperatures to yield metal oxide films. Such films can be epitaxial in structure and can be of optical quality. The process can be organic solvent-free.
Los Alamos National Laboratory 04/29/2008
Issued
Patent 7,604,839
Patent
7,604,839
Polymer-assisted deposition of films
A polymer assisted deposition process for deposition of metal oxide films and the like is presented. The process includes solutions of one or more metal precursor and soluble polymers having binding properties for the one or more metal precursor. After a coating operation, the resultant coating is heated at high temperatures to yield metal oxide films and the like. Such films can be epitaxial in structure and can be of optical quality. The process can be organic solvent-free.
Los Alamos National Laboratory 10/20/2009
Issued
Patent 8,124,176
Patent
8,124,176
Polymer-assisted deposition of films
A polymer assisted deposition process for deposition of metal nitride films and the like is presented. The process includes solutions of one or more metal precursor and soluble polymers having binding properties for the one or more metal precursor. After a coating operation, the resultant coating is heated at high temperatures under a suitable atmosphere to yield metal nitride films and the like. Such films can be conformal on a variety of substrates including non-planar substrates. In some instances, the films can be epitaxial in structure and can be of optical quality. The process can be organic solvent-free.
Los Alamos National Laboratory 02/28/2012
Issued
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
DOE S-100,631; DOE S-104,822; DOE S-112,974; DOE S-116,284Prototype - Patent pendingAvailable - The Laboratory has exclusive and non-exclusive licenses available for these technologies.08/12/201004/04/2013

Contact LANL About This Technology

To: Michael Erickson<michaele@lanl.gov>