Education & Outreach > Short Courses > Short Course Catalog > Materials Processing > Thin Film Nucleation, Growth, and Microstructural Evolution

Thin Film Nucleation, Growth, and Microstructural Evolution

Thin Film Nucleation, Growth, and Microstructural Evolution

Course Objectives

  • Understand the primary experimental variables and surface reaction paths controlling nucleation/growth kinetics and microstructural evolution during vapor-phase deposition.
  • Develop an appreciation of the advantages/disadvantages of competing growth techniques.
  • Learn how to better design film growth processes.

Course Description

Thin-film technology is pervasive in many applications, including microelectronics, optics, magnetics, hard and corrosion resistant coatings, micromechanics, etc. Progress in each of these areas depends upon the ability to selectively and controllably deposit thin films (thickness ranging from tens of angstroms to micrometers) with specified physical properties. This, in turn, requires control -- often at the atomic level -- of film microstructure and microchemistry.

Essential fundamental aspects, as well as the technology, of thin-film nucleation and growth from the vapor phase (evaporation, MBE, sputtering, and CVD) are discussed in detail and highlighted with "real" examples. The course begins with an introduction on substrate surfaces: structure, reconstruction, and adsorption/desorption kinetics. Nucleation processes are treated in detail using insights obtained from both in situ (RHEED, LEED, STM, AES, EELS, etc.) and post-deposition (TEM and AFM) analyses. The primary modes of nucleation include 2D (step flow, layer-by-layer, and 2D multilayer), 3D, and Stranski-Krastanov. The fundamental limits of epitaxy will be discussed.

Experimental results and simulations will be used to illustrate processes controlling 3D nucleation kinetics, island coalescence, clustering, secondary nucleation, column formation, preferred orientation, and microstructure evolution. The effects of low-energy ion-irradiation during deposition, as used in sputtering and plasma-CVD, will be discussed with examples.

Course Materials

Course Notes

Course Cost: $690.00

Who should attend?

Scientists and engineers involved in deposition characterization or manufacturing/marketing of deposition equipment.