Inhibiting metal oxide atomic layer deposition: Beyond zinc oxide

Matthew D. Sampson, Jonathan D. Emery, Michael J. Pellin, Alex B.F. Martinson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Atomic layer deposition (ALD) of several metal oxides is selectivity inhibited on alkanethiol self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on Au, and the eventual nucleation mechanism is investigated. The inhibition ability of the SAM is significantly improved by the in situ H2-plasma pretreatment of the Au substrate prior to the gas-phase deposition of a long-chain alkanethiol, 1-dodecanethiol (DDT). This more rigorous surface preparation inhibits even aggressive oxide ALD precursors, including trimethylaluminum and water, for at least 20 cycles. We study the effect that the ALD precursor purge times, growth temperature, alkanethiol chain length, alkanethiol deposition time, and plasma treatment time have on Al2O3 ALD inhibition. This is the first example of Al2O3 ALD inhibition from a vapor-deposited SAM. The inhibitions of Al2O3, ZnO, and MnO ALD processes are compared, revealing the versatility of this selective surface treatment. Atomic force microscopy and grazingincidence X-ray fluorescence further reveal insight into the mechanism by which the well-defined surface chemistry of ALD may eventually be circumvented to allow metal oxide nucleation and growth on SAM-modified surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33429-33436
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number39
StatePublished - Oct 4 2017


  • Alkanethiols
  • Aluminum oxide
  • Atomic layer deposition
  • Manganese oxide
  • Metal oxides
  • Selective deposition
  • Self-assembled monolayers
  • Zinc oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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