Chemical vapour deposition of zeolitic imidazolate framework thin films


Integrating metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) in microelectronics has disruptive potential because of the unique properties of these microporous crystalline materials. Suitable film deposition methods are crucial to leverage MOFs in this field. Conventional solvent-based procedures, typically adapted from powder preparation routes, are incompatible with nanofabrication because of corrosion and contamination risks. We demonstrate a chemical vapour deposition process (MOF-CVD) that enables high-quality films of ZIF-8, a prototypical MOF material, with a uniform and controlled thickness, even on high-aspect-ratio features. Furthermore, we demonstrate how MOF-CVD enables previously inaccessible routes such as lift-off patterning and depositing MOF films on fragile features. The compatibility of MOF-CVD with existing infrastructure, both in research and production facilities, will greatly facilitate MOF integration in microelectronics. MOF-CVD is the first vapour-phase deposition method for any type of microporous crystalline network solid and marks a milestone in processing such materials.

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Figure 1: Chemical vapour deposition of ZIF-8 thin films.
Figure 2: Characterization of chemical vapour deposited ZIF-8 thin films.
Figure 3: Conformal ZIF-8 thin films deposition on high-aspect-ratio pillar arrays.
Figure 4: Vapour–solid reaction of zinc oxide and HmIM studied by in situ powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD).
Figure 5: MOF integration routes enabled by the MOF-CVD process: lift-off patterning and coating of fragile features.


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The authors are grateful to the Agency of Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT) for support in SBO project MOFShape. I.S. thanks Research Foundation—Flanders (FWO) for a PhD fellowship. R.A. is grateful to KU Leuven for a starting grant. The authors thank imec for support. In particular, the ESTORE team is acknowledged for their assistance in providing the substrates and the imec MCA department for TEM and TOF-SIMS measurements. D.D.V. is grateful to the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) for support in IAP project 7/05 and to KU Leuven for CASAS Methusalem funding. S.D.F. is grateful to the European Research Council (ERC) for funding (Grant Agreement No. 340324).

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I.S. and R.A. conceived and designed the experiments. I.S. carried out and analysed all film deposition and characterization experiments. M.S., P.F. and R.A. designed and conducted the X-ray diffraction measurements. M.S. and I.S. analysed the X-ray diffraction data. H.V.G. and W.V. conducted the atomic force microscopy experiments. G.G. and P.F. designed and manufactured the photolithography and soft lithography patterned substrates. The manuscript was primarily written by I.S. and R.A., with the input of all authors.

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Correspondence to Rob Ameloot.

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Stassen, I., Styles, M., Grenci, G. et al. Chemical vapour deposition of zeolitic imidazolate framework thin films. Nature Mater 15, 304–310 (2016).

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