ChE Seminar – “Chemical Selectivity in Surface Deposition Reactions” by Dr. Gregory Parsons (North Carolina State University)

Host: Dr. John Ekerdt


Selectivity in chemical reactions, where one product is formed and a similar product is suppressed, is a long-standing challenge in reaction engineering. Catalytic reactions, for example, quantify selectivity in terms of the rate of formation of a desired product relative to that for an undesired product. In the field of nano-scale electronic devices, the need for localized material placement and lateral position control is now reaching the point where long-standing physical patterning tools (i.e. photolithography) need to be augmented by new purely chemical patterning methods. Chemical patterning proceeds via area-selective deposition, where a chemical product (i.e. a thin film) forms on one part of a patterned surface, but not on other parts of the same surface. To meet the demands for defect-free electronic devices, the stringency for selective deposition is much more intense than the selectivity used in typical catalysis or other chemical systems. In this presentation, I will describe the basic surface chemistry of selective reactions in vapor/surface atomic layer deposition and atomic layer etching, and show how we are using these tools to push the boundaries of selectivity in surface chemical reactions, including the use of new materials, such as metal-organic framework (MOF) thin films.


Gregory Parsons is Celanese Acetate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the State University of New York and a PhD in Physics in at NC State University studying Plasma CVD of Hydrogenated Amorphous Silicon. In 1990 he began a postdoc at IBM TJ Watson Research Center working on thin film transistor materials for flat panel displays, and joined NC State Chemical Engineering in 1992 as an Assistant Professor to explore surface reactions in thin film materials, including Atomic Layer Deposition. In 2001 he co-founded the annual International AVS ALD Conference where he remains in active leadership. He has published more than 200 articles in reaction mechanisms during atomic layer deposition and molecular layer deposition, ALD on polymers and fibers, ALD for metal organic frameworks, reaction system scaling, ALD for energy storage and harvesting, as well as selective area ALD for advanced electronic devices. He was elected Fellow of the American Vacuum Society in 2005, and he served from 2011-2013 on the AVS Board of Directors. He is the recipient of an NSF Career Award, the Alcoa Foundation Distinguished Engineering Research Award, and a Semiconductor Research Corporation Invention Award. He is also an accomplished classroom teacher, being named to NC State’s Academy of Outstanding Teachers in 2009. He is the 2014 recipient of NC State’s RJ Reynolds Award, the College of Engineering’s highest distinction for faculty research, teaching and service. In 2015 he received the ALD Innovation Award, the highest recognition of accomplishment in the ALD community, and in 2016 was named to the inaugural class of the NC State Research Leadership Academy.

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