Vapor-phase film deposition of metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) would facilitate the integration of these materials into electronic devices. In this study, we report the vapor-phase layer-by-layer deposition of zeolitic imidazolate framework 8 (ZIF-8) by consecutive, self-saturating reactions of diethyl zinc, water, and 2-methylimidazole on a substrate.
Two approaches were compared: (1) Direct ZIF-8 “molecular layer deposition” (MLD), which enables a nanometer-resolution thickness control and employs only self-saturating reactions, resulting in smooth films that are crystalline as-deposited, and (2) two-step ZIF-8 MLD, in which crystallization occurs during a postdeposition treatment with additional linker vapor. The latter approach resulted in a reduced deposition time and an improved MOF quality, i.e., increased crystallinity and probe molecule uptake, although the smoothness and thickness control were partially lost. Both approaches were developed in a modified atomic layer deposition reactor to ensure cleanroom compatibility.
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