The nucleation and growth of Pt atomic layer deposition (ALD) on Al2O3 substrates was studied using (methylcyclopentadienyl)-trimethyl platinum (MeCpPtMe3) and O2 plasma as the reactants. The nucleation of Pt ALD was examined on Al2O3 ALD substrates at 300¿°C using a variety of techniques including spectroscopic ellipsometry, x-ray reflectivity, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. These techniques revealed that Pt ALD does not nucleate and grow immediately on the Al2O3 ALD substrates. There was negligible Pt ALD during the first 38 ALD cycles. The Pt ALD growth rate then increased substantially during the next 12 ALD cycles. Subsequently, the Pt ALD growth rate reached a steady state linear growth regime for >50 ALD cycles. These measurements suggest that the Pt ALD first forms a number of nanoclusters that grow slowly during the first 38 ALD cycles. These islands then merge during the next 12 cycles and yield a steady state Pt ALD growth rate of ~0.05 nm/cycle for >50 ALD cycles. The Pt ALD film at the onset of the steady state linear growth regime was approximately 2–3 nm in thickness. However, the SEM images of these Pt ALD films appeared corrugated and wormlike. These films also had a density that was only 50–70% of bulk Pt. Film densities that were consistent with bulk Pt were not observed until after >100 ALD cycles when the Pt ALD films appeared much smoother and were 4–5 nm in thickness. The Pt ALD nucleation rate could be enhanced somewhat using different O2 plasma parameters.
Baker, L., Cavanagh, A. S., Seghete, D., George, S. M., Mackus, A. J. M., Kessels, W. M. M., Liu, Z. Y., & Wagner, F. T. (2011). Nucleation and growth of Pt atomic layer deposition on Al2O3 substrates using (methylcyclopentadienyl)-trimethyl platinum and O2 plasma. Journal of Applied Physics, 109(8), 084333-1/10. . https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3555091