Thermal atomic layer deposition of gold: Mechanistic insights, nucleation, and epitaxy

Pengfei Liu, Yuchen Zhang, Cong Liu, Jonathan D. Emery, Anusheela Das, Michael J. Bedzyk, Adam S. Hock*, Alex B.F. Martinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


An in situ microbalance and infrared spectroscopic study of alternating exposures to Me2Au(S2CNEt2) and ozone illuminates the organometallic chemistry that allows for the thermal atomic layer deposition (ALD) of gold. In situ quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) studies resolve the nucleation delay and island growth of Au on a freshly prepared aluminum oxide surface with single cycle resolution, revealing inhibition for 40 cycles prior to slow nucleation and film coalescence that extends over 300 cycles. In situ infrared spectroscopy informed by first-principles computation provides insight into the surface chemistry of the self-limiting half-reactions, which are consistent with an oxidized Au surface mechanism. X-ray diffraction of ALD-grown gold on silicon, silica, sapphire, and mica reveals consistent out-of-plane oriented crystalline film growth as well as epitaxially directed in-plane orientation on closely lattice-matched mica at a relatively low growth temperature of 180 °C. A more complete understanding of ALD gold nucleation, surface chemistry, and epitaxy will inform the next generation of low-temperature, nanoscale, textured depositions that are applicable to high surface area supports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9091-9100
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 24 2021


  • Atomic layer deposition
  • Epitaxy
  • Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy
  • Gold
  • Mechanism
  • Quartz crystal microbalance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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