Atomic layer deposition of metal sulphides for energy applications

Group: CoCooN

Promotors: Christophe Detavernier and Jolien Dendooven

Supervisor: Femi Mathew


The current demand for energy efficient materials motivates researchers to increasingly focus on metal sulphides. Metal sulphides belong to the class of metal chalcogenides, and offer tunable chemical, electronic and optical properties. These materials are excellent electrocatalysts in hydrogen evolution reactions owing to their unique properties. Also, metal sulphides can serve as electrodes and electrolytes in Li ion batteries. In order to explore the prospects offered by these fascinating materials it is essential to have scalable and well-controlled deposition of thin sulphide coatings via suitable methods.

Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is a powerful technique used for depositing ultrathin films with high level of conformality and precise control over the thickness and composition. Moreover, the crystallinity, roughness and impurity levels of the material can be accurately controlled. While ALD of metal oxides is rather well established, ALD of metal sulphides needs to be explored more, as it can pave the way to the development of novel energy devices.

In this thesis, we aim to deposit thin films of metal sulphides using atomic layer deposition. The obtained thin films can be characterized by means of x-ray reflectivity, x-ray diffraction and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy techniques to determine their thickness, crystallinity and composition, respectively. The surface morphology can be investigated using scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy techniques. Finally, functional properties of the deposited films will be explored in energy conversion or energy storage devices.

Atomic layer deposition of metal sulfides for energy applications