My name is Landon Keller. I am a 2nd year graduate student in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, working under Dr. Gregory Parsons. Our lab conducts research related to nanofabrication of thin films and electronic materials through vapor deposition techniques. I would like to bring the expertise that I am gaining from the Parsons’ lab to the energy industry, conducting research and development for electronic materials such as batteries or photovoltaics. Outside of the lab, I love to stay active, spending time outside and playing many different intramural sports, especially beach volleyball.
What instruments are you using for your research and why do you like them?
For my research, I use many different surface analytical techniques. Specifically in AIF, I have gotten the opportunity to use the SPECS with PHOIBOS 150 Analyzer XPS to determine film composition and chemical binding information and ION-TOF SIMS 5 to understand the chemical depth profile of my films. I also use the FEW Verios SEM to obtain high-resolution images of my samples and the Asylum MFP-3D AFM to determine surface roughness of my films. Since I am dealing with nanoscale fabrication, it is essential to use advanced analytical instruments such as these to understand the processes occurring at a scale invisible to the naked eye.
What have you been researching and how is it impacting the community?
I work with two thin film deposition techniques known as atomic layer deposition (ALD) and atomic layer etching (ALE) to selectively deposit high-k dielectric materials. I study the fundamental mechanisms occurring during this selective deposition technique and am working to understand the system conditions at which it is viable. Using this knowledge, I hope to enable other selective deposition processes for different materials and different surfaces.
Thin film coatings are used in so many everyday things, including protective coatings in pipes and automobiles, semiconductor devices for phones and computers, energy storage and generation devices, and plenty more. Specifically, selective deposition is an extremely important area of research working to enable new advanced electronic device architectures and significantly decrease the complexity, waste, and energy usage during electronic device fabrication processes.
What have you learned from your experience at AIF?
Through the staff at AIF, I have learned how to properly collect data and make conclusions about my research from that data as well as the limitations for making conclusions from that data. Also, I have learned that collecting data that doesn’t align with your original hypothesis or shows a failed experiment can teach you just as much as collecting “good” data.
Best thing about AIF in 5 words or less?
Excellent establishment with incredible people
Is there a staff member at AIF that has helped you?
Fred Stevie has taught me so much about x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and has extensive knowledge about vacuum systems, like the vacuum deposition reactors I use to perform ALD and ALE. I would also like to thank Chuck Mooney, and Elaine Zhou for their help with instrument training and data analysis.