The Chemical Structure, Dynamics and Mechanisms Program of the Chemistry Division supports Professor Bruce S. Ault at the University of Cincinnati for studies of the reactions of organometallic precursors with ozone. This project is an experimental and theoretical study to enhance the overall understanding of the reaction mechanisms of ozone with a wide range of volatile organometallic precursors. These will include metal alkyls, metallocenes, metal carbonyls and metal acetylacetonate complexes. Thermal reactions will be used to generate initial intermediates, which will be trapped at low temperature by matrix isolation and characterized by spectroscopic and theoretical techniques. By employing several deposition techniques, the reaction time and thermal energy provided to the initial reactants will be varied in a systematic way. This provides a means to 'stop' the reaction at varying times after initiation, and will permit the trapping of different intermediates in the reactions. The identification of a sequence of intermediates will permit the development of a reaction mechanism. Since, very little is known about these reactions, an increased understanding will allow the development of routes to the oxidation of the metal-carbon bonds.
The reaction of ozone with volatile organometallic precursors has been used in recent years for the formation of metal oxide thin films on a variety of substrates. These thin films have applications ranging from solar energy conversion to the microelectronics industry. Understanding of the reaction mechanisms should enable the development of more effective thin film formation processes. A number of younger scientists, from early undergraduate research students through doctoral students will be engaged in this project where they can gain exposure to the excitement of research in chemistry. In addition, a strong linkage to the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program at the University of Cincinnati is in place, and will continue to assist in the development of female scientists.