Precursor design for materials applications
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The importance of platinum group metals for catalytic and microelectronic applications has prompted research into the development of novel molecular precursors for chemical vapor deposition of thin films of these metals. A variety of molecular architectures, ligand systems, as well as deposition conditions are investigated and related to the morphology and composition of the resultant films. For example, amorphous thin films of ruthenium and phosphorus alloys are deposited using single source metal hydride precursors, while use of the 3,5-di-substituted pyrazolate ligand in conjunction with various rhodium starting materials leads to a variety of different volatile monomeric and dimeric complexes. Synthesis of pyrazole and pyrazolate complexes of tungsten and palladium are also explored. In a related research area, progress towards the development of novel synthetic routes to mesostructured transition metal phosphides and borates for Li-ion battery electrode applications is summarized. Traditional routes to these materials involve high-temperature syntheses, allowing limited control over morphology. Identification of low-temperature reaction conditions necessary to afford a desired composition, morphology and electrochemical performance of the bulk material are the main goals of this project, and results are discussed with various early transition metals.