Atomic layer deposition (ALD) offers the ability to uniformly deposit conformal coatings over high aspect ratio nanostructure scaffolds with atomic-scale precision. The self-limited cyclic nature of ALD makes it an extremely useful tool for the engineering of various nanomaterials, where many cycles can yield ultrathin films or through controlled functionalization of their surfaces. In our lab, we have constructed our own versatile ALD system with two reactors (one with additional in-vacuo capabilities) to aid in the development of a wide range of nanodevices.
One of the recent studies employed ALD-grown films for direct solar-to-hydrogen production by a water-splitting process that utilizes TiO2-based photoelectrochemical (PEC) anodes. We showed that thin TiO2 films coated by ALD over transparent conductive nanoparticle scaffolds can boost efficiency by decoupling the effective absorption length while minimizing the charge carriers’ path length to the interface with the electrolyte. Other applications currently being explored in the lab include photovoltaics, transistors, supercapacitors, polymer functionalization, and even as a novel method for measuring the surface area of small quantities of porous nanostructures.
Cordova, IA; Peng, Q; Ferrall, IL; Rieth, AJ; Hoertz, PG; Glass, JT(2015)."Enhanced photoelectrochemical water oxidation via atomic layer deposition of TiO 2 on fluorine-doped tin oxide nanoparticle films" Nanoscale.7(18): 8584- 8592 More info
Peng, Q; Kalanyan, B; Hoertz, PG; Miller, A; Kim, DOH; Hanson, K; Alibabaei, L; Liu, J; Meyer, TJ; Parsons, GN; Glass, JT(2013)."Solution-processed, antimony-doped tin oxide colloid films enable high-performance TiO2 photoanodes for water splitting." Nano Letters.13(4): 1481- 1488 More info
Peng, Q; Lewis, JS; Hoertz, PG; Glass, JT; Parsons, GN(2012)."Atomic layer deposition for electrochemical energy generation and storage systems" Journal of vacuum science & technology. A, Vacuum, surfaces, and films : an official journal of the American Vacuum Society.30(1) More info