University of California, Davis (UC Davis) proposes to acquire a thin film deposition instrument to use as a shared resource for conducting fundamental research on materials, processes, and devices for a wide spectrum of important applications. The proposed instrument is capable of producing high quality,highly conformal thin films (such as diamond or silica) on nano to macroscale structures with controlled thickness and material properties at less than 200 degree centigrade temperature. Such capabilities for low-temperature thin-film deposition can enable coating of conventional substrates, such assemiconductors, metals and ceramics, as well as flexible substrates, including plastics and polymers. The instrument will also deposit thin films on biocompatible materials for application in drug delivery, sensing, imaging and printed electronics. Technologies developed as a result of this new equipment, both directly and indirectly, could have revolutionary impact on our quality of life in a wide spectrum of application areas, including ultra-reliable systems for communication, transportation and information technology, security response based on radiation detection, sustainable energy harvesting, sensing and bioengineering systems. Large numbers of students at UC Davis, Northern California high schools and community colleges, including many students from minority and underrepresented communities, as well as postdoctoral researchers, will have the opportunity to be educated in the immersive transdisciplinaryenvironment surrounding this tool, uniquely preparing them to solve important problems and succeed in today's highly competitive academic or industrial environments.
A plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition instrument with inductively coupled plasma (ICP-PECVD) is capable of producing high quality, highly conformal thin films of silicon dioxide, silicon nitride, silicon oxy-nitride, silicon carbide, amorphous silicon, and diamond-like carbon. The tool will enable researchers at the University of California, Davis, to use tightly controlled composition and thickness in the thin film, with controlled doping and tunable index in 20-200 degree centigrade temperature ranges, deposited on a variety of surfaces and over a range of structures. The tool allows investigation of nano and microstructures that otherwise could not be fabricated. The principal objectives of research using the ICP-PECVD tool will include: (1) fabrication of nano and microscale structures on lattice matched and mismatched substrates and integrated devices for photonics, energy conversion, biosensing, and MEMS/NEMS; (2) defect-free conformal passivation and encapsulation of devices and systems for improved efficiency and reliability; (3) transmission and reflection coatings for optoelectronic and energy conversion devices; (4) low-temperature coatings for biocompatible and other temperature sensitive materials for applications in drug delivery, sensing, imaging and printed electronics; and (5) new semiconductor materials such as III-nitride for ultra-reliable systems. The unique characteristics of PECVD integrated with ICP will allow operations at low temperatures, significantly strengthen a number of ongoing interdisciplinary research programs, and enable an even greater number of research activities over itsuseful lifetime. The tool will be operated in a professionally run environment to facilitate work in two complementary research dimensions: (i) inquiry-based dimension defining the foundational engineering science for future technologies, including the elements of new materials platforms, component and device innovation, circuit and systems design, and novel process and manufacturing science; and (ii) integrative technology-based application dimension that becomes part of a test bed at UC Davis for making working prototypes and systems to test novel ideas generated by students and faculty members.