Spatial atomic layer deposition (ALD) is a new version of ALD based on the separation of reactant gases in space instead of time. In this paper, the authors present results for spatial ALD on flexible substrates using a modular rotating cylinder reactor. The design for this reactor is based on two concentric cylinders. The outer cylinder remains fixed and contains a series of slits. These slits can accept a wide range of modules that attach from the outside. The modules can easily move between the various slit positions and perform precursor dosing, purging, or pumping. The inner cylinder rotates with the flexible substrate and passes underneath the various spatially separated slits in the outer cylinder. Trimethyl aluminum and ozone were used to grow Al2O3 ALD films at 40 °C on metallized polyethylene terephthalate (PET) substrates to characterize this spatial ALD reactor. Spectroscopic ellipsometry measurements revealed a constant Al2O3 ALD growth rate of 1.03 Å/cycle with rotation speeds from 40 to 100 RPM with the outer cylinder configured for one Al2O3 ALD cycle per rotation. The Al2O3 ALD growth rate then decreased at higher rotation rates for reactant residence times < 5 ms. The Al2O3 ALD films were also uniform to within <1% across the central portion of metallized PET substrate. Fixed deposition time experiments revealed that Al2O3 ALD films could be deposited at 2.08 Å/s at higher rotation speeds of 175 RPM. Even faster deposition rates are possible by adding more modules for additional Al2O3 ALD cycles for every one rotation of the inner cylinder.

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