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Embedded catalyst for atomic layer deposition of silicon oxide

Catalyzed atomic layer deposition from a reduced number of precursors is described. A deposition precursor contains silicon, oxygen and a catalytic ligand. A hydroxyl-terminated substrate is exposed to the deposition precursor to form a silicon bridge bond between two surface-bound oxygens. The surface-bound oxygens were part of two surface-bound hydroxyl groups and the adsorption of the deposition precursor liberates the hydrogens. The silicon atom is also chemically-bound to one or two additional oxygen atoms which were already chemically-bound to the silicon within a same deposition precursor molecule. At least one of the additional oxygen atoms is further chemically-bound to the catalytic ligand either directly or by way of a hydrocarbon chain. Further exposure of the substrate to moisture (H2O) results in displacement of the additional oxygen which are replaced by hydroxyl groups from the moisture. The surface is again hydroxyl-terminated and the process may be repeated. The catalytic nature of the reaction enables the deposition to occur at low substrate temperatures. The chemically-embedded nature of the catalyst increases the deposition per cycle thereby reducing the number of precursor exposures to grow a film of the same thickness.
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