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Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) - An Enabling Technology for NASA Space Systems

  • November 14, 2018
  • RSVP by Nov 9 to
  • UMD Kim Engineering Building, Kay Boardrooms, College Park , MD , US


A key technology development driver in environmental control systems and next generation optics utilize thin film development borrowed from the semiconductor industry. We will start with a brief history of NASA and the Goddard Space Flight Center through its 60-year existence, and discuss how thin film technology has emerged as an enabling technology for optical and physical properties of spacecraft components in challenging environmental conditions in polar, geostationary or gravity neutral orbits. For example, depositing a layer of indium tin oxide (ITO) on a radiator surface dissipates charge buildup, and variable emittance coatings such as VO2 are used to optimize radiator size, allowing the heater power budget to decrease. The properties of these enhanced coatings must be tailored to mission-specific requirements. 

The billion-dollar semiconductor industry has adopted Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) for precision self-assembly and atomic-scale placement. ALD is a cost effective nanoadditive-manufacturing technique that allows for the conformal coating of substrates with atomic control in a benign temperature and pressure environment. Through the introduction of paired precursor gases, thin films can be deposited on many substrates ranging from glass, polymers, aerogels, metals, and powders, to high aspect-ratio micro- and nano-structures. With the resulting atomic-level control, the fabrication of metal transparent films, precise nano-laminates, and coatings of nano-channels and pores is achievable.

ALD has emerged as a powerful tool for many industrial and research applications. This technology benefits NASA in providing a novel method to facilitate the production, optimization, and protection of valuable spaceflight hardware. A method has been demonstrated for the ALD of In2O3 and films on a variety of substrates from Si(100) wafers, glass slides, and on Z93P pigments (patent pending). The results indicate excellent growth of 4 to 60 nm thick films demonstrating an order of magnitude decrease in resistivity on the pigments. Further examples in optics applications will be discussed.

About the speaker:
Dr. Vivek H. Dwivedi joined the Thermal Engineering and Analysis Branch at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 2010 and is currently the Associate Branch Head.  His interests include thin films, atomic layer deposition, open source software development, optics, heat and mass transfer involving high aspect ratio structures and new technology innovations. Prior to his current position, he worked as a senior space science visualization analyst at Goddard’s National Space Science Data Center with a specialization in large data set 3D visualizations.  He completed his PhD in Chemical Engineering in 2010 while investigating an atomic layer deposition model in high aspect ratio geometries at University of Maryland, College Park. This work has led to the introduction of ALD at Goddard.​

DATE: Wednesday, November 14, 2018
6:30 pm Social/networking in the Atrium
7:15 pm Dinner
8:00 pm Presentation
8:30 pm Q&A

The University of Maryland Kim Engineering Building - Kay Boardrooms (1107 and 1111)
8228 Paint Branch Drive, College Park MD 20742, at the intersection of Stadium Drive

Parking: Closest lots are H and GG2 (small), and 11B (large), all free after 4 pm. See map.
Metro: Information for connecting via the free UMD Shuttle from the College Park metro can be found here. Just hop on (no ID required) and get off at Stadium Drive. You can check the schedule on the NextBus app.

Members & Guests $20
Full time students $10

No-shows cost the chapter money, so please plan to attend if you register!

Please RSVP to by Friday, November 9, 2018

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