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How does Versum Materials determine which new molecules to create?

The mission of Versum Materials is to enable advanced semiconductor companies around the world to stretch the boundaries of science and technology. The very first step towards this goal is to listen to our customers carefully and develop a deep understanding of their technology challenges. Next, we go through iterations of the scientific process (hypothesis, experiment and conclusion) to screen the new molecules. In the hypothesis step our cross-functional team of synthetic chemists, computational scientists, chemical engineers, and materials scientists identify potential new molecules based on known precursor-structure-to-film-property relationships and on our fundamental understanding of Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) reaction mechanisms.

The experimental step encompasses a variety of methods: (a) Molecular and surface reaction computational modeling to quantitatively assess and rank the candidate molecules, (b) Molecule synthesis, manufacturability assessment, and stability verification to ensure robust products, (c) In-situ surface studies using the newly-synthesized molecules to obtain experimental proof of the reaction mechanism, and (d) applications testing of the new molecules in ALD reactors and measurement of deposited film properties. From these iterations, we identify the promising new molecules that meet the customer needs, leading us to the conclusion step of the scientific process (see figure below).

For example, our customers may need a highly-conformal film at low temperature. The high conformality need would translate to a film deposited by ALD. Any new molecule we create to meet this customer target would, therefore, contain ligands reactive enough to enable ALD behavior at low temperature. Using computational modeling [1], in-situ surface studies [2], and applications testing [3]; we identified a promising new molecule (Di-Sec-ButylAmino) Silane or DSBAS that is stable in storage, scalable to large volumes, and meets the customer targets.

As a leading, innovation-driven electronic materials supplier, we understand that speed and agility are critical, so we engage our customers frequently and throughout the discovery process. The promising new molecules that our customers adopt are scaled up and become our next generation advanced products.

References:

[1] L. Huang, B. Han, A. Derecskei-Kovacs, M. Xiao, X. Lei, M. O’Neill, R. M. Pearlstein, H. Chandra and H. Cheng, J. Phys. Chem. C 117, 19454 (2013).
[2] L.F. Pēna, C.E, Nanayakkara, A. Mallikarjunan, H. Chandra, M. Xaio, X. Lei, R.M. Pearlstein, A. Derecskei-Kovacs, and Y.J Chabal, J. Phys. Chem. C120, 10927 (2016).
[3] A. Mallikarjunan, H. Chandra, M. Xaio, X. Lei, R.M. Pearlstein, H.R. Bowen, M.L. O’Neill, A. Derecskei-Kovacs, and B. Han; J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 33, 01A137 (2015).

 

Author

Anu Mallikarjunan has worked in Technology for 10 years, most recently as the technical lead for our organosilane-based ALD/CVD applications. Anu graduated from Rensselaer with a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering.

Anu.M@nullversummaterials.com