Influence of rinsing and drying routines on growth of multilayer thin films using automated deposition system

A versatile, high speed robot for layer-by-layer deposition of multifunctional thin films, which integrates concepts from previous dipping systems, has been designed with dramatic improvements in software, positioning, rinsing, drying, and waste removal. This system exploits the electrostatic interaction of oppositely charged species to deposit nanolayers 1–10 nm thick from water onto the surface of a substrate. Dip times and number of deposited layers are adjustable through a graphical user interface. In between dips the system spray rinses and dries the substrate by positioning it in the two-tiered rinse-dry station. This feature significantly reduces processing time and provides the flexibility to choose from four different procedures for rinsing and drying. Assemblies of natural montmorillonite clay and polyethylenimine are deposited onto 175 µm polyethylene terephthalate film to demonstrate the utility of this automated deposition system. By altering the type of rinse-dry procedure, these clay-based assemblies are shown to exhibit variations in film thickness and oxygen transmission rate. This type of system reproducibly deposits films containing 20 or more layers and may also be useful for other types of coatings that make use of dipping.

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Gamboa, D: Priolo, MA;  Ham, A; Grunlan, JC; ‎Rev. Sci. Instrum., 201081 (3), 036103.

Published in Review of Scientific Instruments 2010 / Thin Films