Spin coating epitaxial films

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Science  12 Apr 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6436, pp. 166-169
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw6184

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Epitaxial films through spin coating

A simple way to coat a surface with a uniform film is by spin coating. The substrate is spun at high speed, and a droplet of solution containing the coating is added at the center, spreads out, and evaporates. This method is used to make polycrystalline inorganic coatings and amorphous films, such as polymers used in lithography. Kelso et al. performed spin coating with single-crystal substrates, carefully controlling the thickness of the spreading solution on the basis of its viscosity and the rotation rate. In this way, they achieved epitaxial growth—in which the crystallites are oriented by the substrate—for perovskites, zinc oxide, and sodium chloride.

Science, this issue p. 166


Spin-coated films, such as photoresists for lithography or perovskite films for solar cells, are either amorphous or polycrystalline. We show that epitaxial films of inorganic materials such as cesium lead bromide (CsPbBr3), lead(II) iodide (PbI2), zinc oxide (ZnO), and sodium chloride (NaCl) can be deposited onto a variety of single-crystal and single-crystal–like substrates by simply spin coating either solutions of the material or precursors to the material. The out-of-plane and in-plane orientations of the spin-coated films are determined by the substrate. The thin stagnant layer of supersaturated solution produced during spin coating promotes heterogeneous nucleation of the material onto the single-crystal substrate over homogeneous nucleation in the bulk solution, and ordered anion adlayers may lower the activation energy for nucleation on the surface. The method can be used to produce functional materials such as inorganic semiconductors or to deposit water-soluble materials such as NaCl that can serve as growth templates.

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