First Advisor

Raj Solanki

Date of Publication

Winter 3-3-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Applied Physics






Atomic layer deposition, Thin films, Monomolecular films



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 121 pages)


In the last 50 years, the semiconductor industry has been scaling the silicon transistor to achieve faster devices, lower power consumption, and improve device performance. Transistor gate dimensions have become so small that short channel effects and gate leakage have become a significant problem. To address these issues, performance enhancement techniques such as strained silicon are used to improve mobility, while new high-k gate dielectric materials replace silicon oxide to reduce gate leakage. At some point the fundamental limit of silicon will be reached and the semiconductor industry will need to find an alternate solution. The advent of graphene led to the discovery of other layered materials such as the transition metal dichalcogenides. These materials have a layered structure similar to graphene and therefore possess some of the same qualities, but unlike graphene, these materials possess sizeable bandgaps between 1-2 eV making them useful for digital electronic applications. Since initially discovered, most of the research on these films has been from mechanically exfoliated flakes, which are easily produced due to the weak van der Waals force binding the layers together. For these materials to be considered for use in mainstream semiconductor technology, methods need to be explored to grow these films uniformly over a large area.

In this research, atomic layer deposition (ALD) was employed as the growth technique used to produce large area uniform thin films of several different transition metal dichalcogenides. By optimizing the ALD growth parameters, it is possible to grow high quality films a few to several monolayers thick over a large area with good uniformity. This has been demonstrated and verified using several physical analytical tests such as Raman spectroscopy, photoluminescence, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction, transmission electron spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy, which show that these films possess the same qualities as those of the mechanically exfoliated films. Back-gated field effect transistors were created and electrical characterization was performed to determine if ALD grown films possess the same electronic properties as films produced from other methods. The tests revealed that the ALD grown films have high field effect mobility and high current on/off ratios. The WSe2 films also exhibited ambipolar electrical behavior making them a possible candidate for complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology. Ab-initio density functional theory calculations were performed and compared to experimental properties of MoS2 and WSe2 films, which show that the ALD films grown in this research match theoretical predictions. The transconductance measurements from the WSe2 devices used, matched very well with the theoretical calculations, bridging the gap between experimental data and theoretical predictions. Based upon this research, ALD growth of TMD films proves to be a viable alternative for silicon based digital electronics.


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