Characterization of plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition of Al 2O3 using dimethylaluminum isopropoxide

Jialing Yang, Brianna S. Eller, Manpuneet Kaur, Robert Nemanich

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24 Scopus citations


In this research, Al2O3 films were grown by remote plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition using a nonpyrophoric precursor, dimethylaluminum isopropoxide (DMAI), and oxygen plasma. After optimization, the growth rate was determined to be ∼1.5 Å/cycle within a growth window of 25-220 C; the higher growth rate than reported for thermal atomic layer deposition was ascribed to the higher reactivity of the plasma species compared with H2O and the adsorption of active oxygen at the surface, which was residual from the oxygen plasma exposure. Both effects enhance DMAI chemisorption and increase the saturation density. In addition, a longer oxygen plasma time was required at room temperature to complete the reaction and decrease the carbon contamination below the detection limit of x-ray photoemission spectroscopy. The properties of the subsequent Al 2O3 films were measured for different temperatures. When deposited at 25 C and 200 C, the Al2O3 films demonstrated a single Al-O bonding state as measured by x-ray photoemission spectroscopy, a similar band gap of 6.8±0.2 eV as determined by energy loss spectroscopy, a similar index of refraction of 1.62±0.02 as determined by spectroscopic ellipsometry, and uniform growth with a similar surface roughness before and after growth as confirmed by atomic force microscopy. However, the room temperature deposited Al2O3 films had a lower mass density (2.7 g/cm3 compared with 3.0 g/cm3) and a higher atomic ratio of O to Al (2.1 compared with 1.6) as indicated by x-ray reflectivity and Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021514
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces and Films
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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