Aerosol-Assisted Chemical Vapour Deposition of Inorganic Functional Materials

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Chemistry


Continued success of the electronic and energy sectors is driven by technological advances in the semiconductor industry. In layered combination, electron donating (n-type) and electron accepting (p-type) semiconductor materials form heterojunctions, which are the bedrock of transistor and photovoltaic devices. The miniaturisation of such devices has prompted a recent shift away from classical silicon-based materials, of which thin films are challenging to fabricate. As an alternative, the capabilities of both organic polymers and metal-based materials have been investigated, with the latter being favoured for their durability. Consequently, the fabrication of intricate layered architectures comprising inorganic semiconductors is of growing importance. Aerosol-assisted chemical vapour deposition (AACVD) is a promising fabrication technique. Aerosolisation of precursor solutions mitigates the volatility required for typical chemical vapour deposition methods, broadening the range of possible deposition precursors available.
It is proposed to survey the thermal properties of and thin films produced from, a series of metal chalcogenide molecular precursors for AACVD; thus to redress the relative lack in available precursors for formulation of inorganic p-type semiconductors. Initial attention will be focused upon the formulation of group 15 chalcogenide systems (M2X3, M = As, Sb, Bi and X = S, Se, Te), which are currently underdeveloped. More specifically, it is proposed initially to examine group 15 molecular complexes with xanthate-derived ligands, the deposition mechanism of which has been pre-characterised. The work may expand to other metals, for example tin or zinc. The aim is to yield a series of precursor chemicals viable for commercial AACVD scaleup,
to assist the construction of both constituents of an inorganic heterojunction. Future work can interrogate parameters controlling aerosol-mediated deposition, probing the influence of droplet size and solvent on film morphology.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S023593/1 31/03/2019 29/09/2027
2274775 Studentship EP/S023593/1 29/09/2019 29/09/2023 Max Robson
Description Design, synthesis and analysis of novel precursors for the deposition of metal chalcogenide films using aerosol-assisted chemical vapour deposition. Large steps taken towards realisation of a commercial process capable of semiconductor thin film fabrication for sustainable electronics in energy harvesting and storage applications.
Exploitation Route Widespread use of important class of a sustainable semiconducting material with energy harvesting and storage applications.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Electronics,Energy

Description Created short video on 'The life of a scientist' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Recorded and edited a short (8 min) video, for Key Stage 2 pupils, covering what my research is and what a typical day would look like.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
Description School Visit (Bristol) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Two-hour workshop with Key Stage 3 pupils, demonstrating various scientific experiments/phenomena on chemical science (Mostly aerosol science).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019