Nanoscale structure and morphology of atomic layer deposition platinum on SrTiO 3 (001)

Steven T. Christensen, Jeffrey W. Elam, Byeongdu Lee, Zhenxing Feng, Michael J. Bedzyk, Mark C. Hersam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


The early stages of nucleation and growth of atomic layer deposition (ALD) platinum on SrTiO3 (001) have been studied. Scanning electron microscopy reveals the ALD Pt deposits as discrete nanoparticles that grow and coalesce with increasing number of ALD cycles, ultimately resulting in a continuous film after ̃40 cycles. Atomic force microscopy shows the films to be fine-grained and highly conformal such that the 0.4 nm atomic steps of the underlying SrTiO 3 (001) surface remain visible even after 80 Pt ALD cycles. Grazing-incidence small-angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS) studies demonstrate that the early stages of Pt ALD yields nanoparticles that are well approximated as cylinders with a height to radius ratio that is nearly unity. Consistent with nanoparticle coalescence, GISAXS also reveals an interparticle spacing that increases with the number of ALD cycles. X-ray fluorescence measurements of the Pt coverage reveal growth dynamics in which the Pt deposition is initially faster than the steady-state growth rate that emerges after 40-70 ALD cycles. These experimental results are understood through the application of a model that suggests that the SrTiO 3 surface is more reactive than the Pt species and that Pt diffusion is operative in nanoparticle formation. Overall, this study delineates ALD growth conditions for forming either Pt nanoparticles or continuous Pt thin films on SrTiO 3 (001), thus presenting potentially useful substrates for catalysis and microelectronics, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-521
Number of pages6
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 10 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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