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Hybrid Materials Deposition

The left panels show the structure of ethylene glycol and glycerol at the methyl-terminated Al2O3 surface, while the right panels show the structure of hydroquinone and diaminophenyl at the methyl-terminated Al2O3 surface. The tick marks indicate the more favourable bonding geometry showing that phenyl molecules prefer an upright configuration, leading to thicker film growth.

Hybrid materials composed of mixtures of inorganic (for stability) and organic (functionality) species are explored as coatings for encapsulation, antimicrobials and production of porous materials. They are prepared by molecular layer deposition. Our DFT simulations are used to explore and understand new process chemistries in MLD.

Technological challenges for MLD:

  • Developing chemistries to prepare stable, robust films
  • Predicting suitable precursor chemistries for MLD

Our simulations have explained the difference in film growth seen for different diols, i.e. why films with ethylene glycol do not grow as thick compared to films with glycerol. An important result is that aromatic organic compounds are very effective for ensuring stability and thick films, while permitting tuning of functionality. A range of hybrid inorganic-organic materials based on Al, Ti, Mg and Ce have been investigated.