Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Thin film, atomic layer deposition, plasmonic rectenna, electro-optic device, tunneling nanogap

Major Advisor

Brian G. Willis

Associate Advisor

Alexander G. Agrios

Associate Advisor

Helena Silva

Associate Advisor

Luyi Sun

Associate Advisor

Julia Valla

Field of Study

Chemical Engineering


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


As device requirements keep pushing toward smaller and higher aspect ratio structures, atomic layer deposition (ALD) has become a promising technique for the deposition of nanometer dielectric and metallic thin films with applications in semiconductors, nanotechnology, catalysis, and energy. Meanwhile, the field of plasmonics has gained attention, driven by a variety of exciting applications including chemical and biological sensors, solar energy harvesting devices, spectroscopy, and photocatalytic conversion. A key feature of nanoscale plasmonic materials is a strong dependence of the plasmon resonance on size, shape, composition, and surroundings of the nanostructures. ALD offers an effective means to tune the morphology, composition, and particle-particle junctions of nanostructures with precise control at an atomic level. However, successful application of ALD to plasmonics requires detailed understanding of selective growth, nucleation process, and their dependence on growth conditions for nanostructures.

In this Cu ALD study, we identified optimal process parameters to achieve conformal deposition on nanostructures with good nucleation. A selectivity window was also defined to help establish a set of relations between selective deposition and growth conditions. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the plasmon resonance can be tuned significantly by Cu ALD and provided a deeper understanding of this process for applications such as plasmonic rectenna. It makes a remarkable contribution to process optimization and device design to enable widespread utilization of this technology in photonics and nanoelectronics.