Ionized cluster beam deposition: Modeling, cluster size measurement and applications

Atoussa Hosseini Tehrani, Florida International University


Clusters are aggregations of atoms or molecules, generally intermediate in size between individual atoms and aggregates that are large enough to be called bulk matter. Clusters can also be called nanoparticles, because their size is on the order of nanometers or tens of nanometers. A new field has begun to take shape called nanostructured materials which takes advantage of these atom clusters. The ultra-small size of building blocks leads to dramatically different properties and it is anticipated that such atomically engineered materials will be able to be tailored to perform as no previous material could. The idea of ionized cluster beam (ICB) thin film deposition technique was first proposed by Takagi in 1972. It was based upon using a supersonic jet source to produce, ionize and accelerate beams of atomic clusters onto substrates in a vacuum environment. Conditions for formation of cluster beams suitable for thin film deposition have only recently been established following twenty years of effort. Zinc clusters over 1,000 atoms in average size have been synthesized both in our lab and that of Gspann. More recently, other methods of synthesizing clusters and nanoparticles, using different types of cluster sources, have come under development. In this work, we studied different aspects of nanoparticle beams. The work includes refinement of a model of the cluster formation mechanism, development of a new real-time, in situ cluster size measurement method, and study of the use of ICB in the fabrication of semiconductor devices. The formation process of the vaporized-metal cluster beam was simulated and investigated using classical nucleation theory and one dimensional gas flow equations. Zinc cluster sizes predicted at the nozzle exit are in good quantitative agreement with experimental results in our laboratory. A novel in situ real-time mass, energy and velocity measurement apparatus has been designed, built and tested. This small size time-of-flight mass spectrometer is suitable to be used in our cluster deposition systems and does not suffer from problems related to other methods of cluster size measurement like: requirement for specialized ionizing lasers, inductive electrical or electromagnetic coupling, dependency on the assumption of homogeneous nucleation, limits on the size measurement and non real-time capability. Measured ion energies using the electrostatic energy analyzer are in good accordance with values obtained from computer simulation. The velocity (v) is measured by pulsing the cluster beam and measuring the time of delay between the pulse and analyzer output current. The mass of a particle is calculated from m = (2E/v$\sp2).$ The error in the measured value of background gas mass is on the order of 28% of the mass of one N$\sb2$ molecule which is negligible for the measurement of large size clusters. This resolution in cluster size measurement is very acceptable for our purposes. Selective area deposition onto conducting patterns overlying insulating substrates was demonstrated using intense, fully-ionized cluster beams. Parameters influencing the selectivity are ion energy, repelling voltage, the ratio of the conductor to insulator dimension, and substrate thickness.

Subject Area

Electrical engineering|Materials science

Recommended Citation

Hosseini Tehrani, Atoussa, "Ionized cluster beam deposition: Modeling, cluster size measurement and applications" (1998). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9828269.