SUBJECT: Ph.D. Proposal Presentation
BY: Hyung Chul Kim
TIME: Wednesday, January 7, 2015, 12:00 p.m.
PLACE: Love Building, 210
TITLE: Investigation of ALD Thin Films to Improve the Reliability of Organic Electronic Devices
COMMITTEE: Dr. Samuel Graham, Chair (ME)
Dr. Ting Zhu (ME)
Dr. Shannon Yee (ME)
Dr. Elsa Reichmanis (ChBE)
Dr. John Reynolds (Chem. & MSE)


Organic electronic devices are attractive for their potential to produce lightweight, scalable, and flexible electronics as opposed to traditional inorganic electronics. In spite of these advantageous properties, the implementation of organic electronics in many applications is still challenging because of the potential for rapid degradation upon environmental exposure to oxygen, humidity, and mechanical stress. To enhance the stability of the devices, a reliable barrier layer to prevent the ingress of moisture and oxygen is required as well as more stable functional layers inside the device. Both of these goals can be partially achieved using defect-free conformal plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition (PEALD) films integrated into the devices. However, the practical electrical performance as well as the chemical and mechanical stabilities of ultra-thin PEALD films has not received much attention from researchers. In some cases, characterization methods for the ultra-thin PEALD films have not been established either. Therefore, this dissertation work proposes to investigate the functional properties of ultra-thin (<10 nm) PEALD films to create an encapsulation barrier film as well as to create environmentally robust coatings for electron selective contacts in organic electronics to improve their reliability. First, the chemical stability of PEALD in aqueous environments was evaluated. Based on the results, select PEALD films were applied for the application of either electron selective functional layers in an organic solar cell or robust encapsulation barrier layers for organic solar cells. For future work, a method of integrating the barrier layer and electron selective contact into a single structure will be investigated. Also, the mechanical reliability of the films (mechanical strength and interfacial adhesion) will be analyzed using the delamination test and the fragmentation test. A strategy to enhance the mechanical stability using an inorganic/polymer hybrid structure will be investigated based on atomic layer and molecular layer deposition. By pursuing this research strategy, we will contribute to establishment of chemical, electrical, mechanical characterization methods to evaluate the ultra-thin PEALD film as well as to the enhancement of the stability of organic electronic devices.