The use of chemical vapour deposition (CVD) and atomic layer deposition (ALD) as thin film deposition techniques has had a major impact on a number of fields. The deposition of pure, uniform, conformal thin films requires very specific vapour-solid reactivity that is largely unknown for the majority of ALD and CVD precursors. This work examines the initial chemisorption of several thin film vapour deposition precursors on high surface area silica (HSAS) using 13C, 31P, and quantitative 29Si nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR). Two copper metal precursors, 1,3-diisopropyl-imidazolin-2-ylidene copper (I) hexamethyldisilazide (1) and 1,3-diethyl-imidazolin-2-ylidene copper(I) hexamethyldisilazide (2), and one gold metal precursor, trimethylphosphine gold(III) trimethyl (3), are examined. Compounds 1 and 2 were found to chemisorb at the hydroxyl surface-reactive sites to form a ||-O-Cu-NHC surface species and fully methylated silicon (||-SiMe3, due to reactivity of the hexamethyldisilazane (HMDS) ligand on the precursor) at 150 °C and 250 °C. From quantitative 29Si solid-state NMR (SS-NMR) spectroscopy measurements, it was found that HMDS preferentially reacts at geminal disilanol surface sites while the copper surface species preferentially chemisorbed to lone silanol surface species. Additionally, the overall coverage was strongly dependent on temperature, with higher overall coverage of 1 at higher temperature but lower overall coverage of 2 at higher temperature. The chemisorption of 3 was found to produce a number of interesting surface species on HSAS. Gold(III) trimethylphosphine, reduced gold phosphine, methylated phosphoxides, and graphitic carbon were all observed as surface species. The overall coverage of 3 on HSAS was only about 10% at 100 °C and, like the copper compounds, had a preference for lone silanol surface reactive sites. The overall coverage and chemisorbed surface species have implications to the overall growth rate and purity of metal films grown with these precursors.

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Journal The Journal of Chemical Physics
Pallister, P.J. (Peter J.), & Barry, S.T. (2017). Surface chemistry of group 11 atomic layer deposition precursors on silica using solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 146(5). doi:10.1063/1.4968021