Atomic layer deposition

The technology

Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is a modified chemical vapour deposition (CVD) process. Two successive, self-limiting surface reactions are characteristic for the process, so that extremely thin, defect-free and highly homogeneous films can be deposited. Plasma atomic layer deposition is a special version in which plasma is used for the activation of the second precursor. This allows less reactive precursors to be used, or alternatively the substrate temperature can be lowered, for example to coat sensitive substrates. Compared to other PVD and plasma-CVD deposition processes, the component being coated is not damaged by the plasma.

Benefits of atomic layer deposition

  • Defect-free films
  • Complex 3D conformity
  • Gentle precipitation with no high-energy particles

ALD processes at Fraunhofer IST

Fraunhofer IST develops ALD coatings with thermal and/or plasma activation:


ZnO-based films are precipitated for example for TCO applications such as LEDs or solar cells, using both thermal and plasma ALD. Additional fields of application for these ALD coatings are fuel cells, li-ion batteries and corrosion-resistant films for automobile components. Coatings for photochemical water splitting have been developed as well.


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Applications of Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD)

Defect-free silicon oxide films for the Avogadro project

Bringing medical innovations more swiftly to the patient

What we offer

  • Sampling of customer substrates using ALD, for example with dielectric or transparent conductive films
  • Development of new (plasma) ALD processes for the precipitation of desired materials
  • Development of customer-specific ALD film systems