Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is a vapor phase technique used to deposit thin films onto a substrate. The process of ALD involves the surface of a substrate being exposed to alternating precursors, which do not overlap but instead are introduced sequentially.
In each alternate pulse, the precursor molecule reacts with the surface in a self-limiting way, this ensures that the reaction stops once all of the reactive sites on the substrate have been used. A complete ALD cycle is determined by the nature of the precursor-surface interaction. The ALD cycle can be performed multiple times to increase the layers of the thin film, depending on the requirement.
The process of ALD is often performed at lower temperatures, which is beneficial when working with substrates that are fragile, and some thermally unstable precursors can still be employed with ALD as long as their decomposition rate is slow.
A wide range of materials can be deposited using ALD, including oxides, metals, sulfides, and fluorides, and there is a wide range of properties that these coatings can exhibit, depending on the application.
The ALD process is widely used as it provides ultra-thin nano-layers in an extremely precise manner on a variety of substrates, including micron to sub-micron size particles. The nano-layers achieved with ALD are by nature conformal and pinhole free.
Atomic Layer Deposition Applications
The application range of atomic layer deposition is vast, and that is why it has become a popular tool to develop nano coatings and thin films.
One of the most popular application is the use of ALD thin films in the semiconductor manufacturing industry as electronics become miniaturized. The thin films and coatings produced using ALD help to make these products even smaller yet and maintain the high standard of performance we demand in our consumer electronics.
The use of Particle ALD or PALD to deposit simple and complex metal oxide nano-coatings around each tiny particle that makes up the powder coating on the anode and cathode electrodes in lithium-ion batteries is increasingly popular as it has been shown to improve the lifetime of the battery, increase the battery capacity and significantly improve safety. The increased use of ALD in the manufacture of lithium ion batteries is also largely due to Forge Nano’s patent and intellectual property for ALD coating on particles at an economy of scale, taking it out of the research lab and making it a commercially viable process for battery manufacturers.
Nano coated catalysts are another application of ALD. These coatings can result in catalysts that are more thermally-stable, be used to modify the chemical or physical properties of the catalyst or tailor the selectivity of the catalyst based on process conditions.
Atomic layer deposition is also gaining popularity in the biomedical industry, especially with the increase of nanoporous materials being used in drug delivery, tissue engineering, and implants.
Forge Nano has developed a unique, commercially viable atomic layer deposition process to create precision nanocoatings on particles and we take pride in helping our clients use the technology to improve their products and services. If you require any information about our ALD processes or nanocoatings on particles please contact us.