Influence of Subsurface Hybrid Material Growth on the Mechanical Properties of Atomic Layer Deposited Thin Films on Polymers


  • The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Mangesh Champhekar (N.C. State) for guidance in the nano-indentation characterization performed in this work. The authors also acknowledge Stephen J. Bull (Univ. of Newcastle) for guidance on the model for the contact modulus. This work was performed, in part, at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, an Office of Science User Facility operated for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science. Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. This work was supported by Sandia Nationl Laboratories (Department of Energy) #2011-1953. This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation Project no. CMMI-1000382 (J.S.J.)


The mechanical properties of atomic layer deposition (ALD) coatings play a key role in their long-term use as encapsulation barriers for organic-based, flexible, electronic devices. Nano-indentation characteristics and flexure testing of nanometer-scale alumina on polyamide 6 (PA6) films are investigated to determine the influence of a sub-surface hybrid layer formed during the ALD process. This hybrid layer is observed to affect the mechanical performance of the thin films, in particular at lower processing temperatures. This work has important consequences on how ALD materials need to be applied and evaluated on polymers for application as encapsulation barrier layers.