Optical coatings in microscale channels by atomic layer deposition

Nicholas T. Gabriel, Joseph J. Talghader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


High-aspect-ratio channels may be coated using atomic layer deposition (ALD) due to the unique self- limiting nature of the process, and this has been often demonstrated using deep reactive-ion etched trenches in silicon. However, for optical and microfluidic applications, many channels are centimeters deep with diameters of tens to hundreds of micrometers, and the relatively large area exposes more difficult problems of temperature and gas flow uniformity. To quantify the uniformity of optical coatings deposited by ALD under those conditions, an air wedge has been created between two square wafers of silicon approximately 7 cm on a side, with the air gap varying linearly from 0-1560 μm. ALD aluminum oxide uniformity is astounding, while hafnium oxide shows a need for process optimization, but still exceeds the capability observed in other deposition techniques. A six-layer Fabry-Perot optical cavity with fixed 500 nm resonance was deposited inside a wedge, and the measured resonant wavelength closely matched predictions, except at the deepest regions of the wedge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1242-1248
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Optics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Mar 10 2010


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