The Advanced Materials Sciences Department is responsible for the research, development, and application of chemical science to materials technologies critical to Sandia's missions. Our work currently emphasizes the science and engineering of Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD), and nanostructure synthesis and characterization. We support a large variety of semiconductor device projects. We are also involved in the synthesis and characterization of other novel materials such as semiconductor quantum dots and quantum wires and 3D nanostructures using phase mask lithography. We use MOCVD to investigate novel III-V-based structures for the development of high efficiency solid-state lighting and ultraviolet light emitters and lasers, quantum dot structures for infrared technologies, nanowires, and improved in-situ diagnostic instrumentation. We have a new MBE/surface-materials analysis system for synthesis and characterization of novel compound semiconductor materials and nano-scale devices. We are also exploring the need for plasma-based surface modification of novel and nano-scale materials.
Metal Organic Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is a widely used method for depositing thin films of a variety of materials. Applications of MOCVD range from the fabrication of microelectronic devices to the deposition of protective coatings. New MOCVD processes are increasingly complex, with stringent requirements that make it more difficult to commercialize them in a timely fashion. However, a clear understanding of the fundamental science underlying a MOCVD process, expressed through computer models, can substantially shorten the time scale for reactor and process development.
Research scientists at Sandia use a wide range of experimental and theoretical techniques for investigating the science of MOCVD. Experimental tools include optical probes for gas-phase and surface processes, a range of surface analytic techniques, molecular beam methods for gas/surface kinetics, flow visualization techniques and state-of-the-art crystal growth reactors. The theoretical strategy uses a structured approach to describe the coupled gas-phase and gas-surface chemistry, fluid dynamics, heat and mass transfer of a CVD process. The software used to describe chemical reaction mechanisms is easily adapted to codes that model a variety of reactor geometries. Carefully chosen experiments provide the critical information on chemical species, gas temperatures and flows necessary for model development and validation.
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