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Nanomaterials 2019, 9(1), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9010088

Fracture Mechanics and Oxygen Gas Barrier Properties of Al2O3/ZnO Nanolaminates on PET Deposited by Atomic Layer Deposition

1
Mechanics of Materials and Nanostructures Laboratory, Empa- Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Feuerwerkerstrasse 39, CH-3602 Thun, Switzerland
2
CSIR-Central Scientific Instruments Organisation, Sector 30, Chandigarh 160030, India
3
Institut Européen des Membranes, IEM, UMR-5635, Univ Montpellier, CNRS, ENSCM, 4095 Montpellier, France
4
Materials Department, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
5
Institut Universitaire de France, 1 rue Descartes, 75231 Paris, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Received: 7 November 2018 / Revised: 10 December 2018 / Accepted: 21 December 2018 / Published: 11 January 2019
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Abstract

Rapid progress in the performance of organic devices has increased the demand for advances in the technology of thin-film permeation barriers and understanding the failure mechanisms of these material systems. Herein, we report the extensive study of mechanical and gas barrier properties of Al2O3/ZnO nanolaminate films prepared on organic substrates by atomic layer deposition (ALD). Nanolaminates of Al2O3/ZnO and single compound films of around 250 nm thickness were deposited on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) foils by ALD at 90 °C using trimethylaluminium (TMA) and diethylzinc (DEZ) as precursors and H2O as the co-reactant. STEM analysis of the nanolaminate structure revealed that steady-state film growth on PET is achieved after about 60 ALD cycles. Uniaxial tensile strain experiments revealed superior fracture and adhesive properties of single ZnO films versus the single Al2O3 film, as well as versus their nanolaminates. The superior mechanical performance of ZnO was linked to the absence of a roughly 500 to 900 nm thick sub-surface growth observed for single Al2O3 films as well as for the nanolaminates starting with an Al2O3 initial layer on PET. In contrast, the gas permeability of the nanolaminate coatings on PET was measured to be 9.4 × 10−3 O2 cm3 m−2 day−1. This is an order of magnitude less than their constituting single oxides, which opens prospects for their applications as gas barrier layers for organic electronics and food and drug packaging industries. Direct interdependency between the gas barrier and the mechanical properties was not established enabling independent tailoring of these properties for mechanically rigid and impermeable thin film coatings. View Full-Text
Keywords: atomic layer deposition; mechanics; gas barrier; tensile strain testing; adhesion; sub-surface growth; failure analysis; delamination; thin film; Al2O3; ZnO atomic layer deposition; mechanics; gas barrier; tensile strain testing; adhesion; sub-surface growth; failure analysis; delamination; thin film; Al2O3; ZnO
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Chawla, V.; Ruoho, M.; Weber, M.; Chaaya, A.A.; Taylor, A.A.; Charmette, C.; Miele, P.; Bechelany, M.; Michler, J.; Utke, I. Fracture Mechanics and Oxygen Gas Barrier Properties of Al2O3/ZnO Nanolaminates on PET Deposited by Atomic Layer Deposition. Nanomaterials 2019, 9, 88.

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