UPCOMING DISSERTATION DEFENSE: KUNAL AHUJA


Name: Kunal Ahuja

Title of Dissertation: ULTRA-THIN ON-CHIP ALD LIPON CAPACITORS FOR HIGH ENERGY AND HIGH-FREQUENCY APPLICATIONS 

Date, time, location: August 4th, 1-3pm in EGR 2164 (https://umd.zoom.us/j/9523406285)

List of all committee members: 

  • Professor F. Patrick McCluskey, Chair/Advisor
  • Professor Gary Rubloff, Co-Chair
  • Professor Peter Sandborn
  • Professor Keith Gregorczyk
  • Professor Hugh Bruck
  • Professor Aris Christou
  • Professor Sang Bok Lee (Dean’s Representative)

Abstract: Liquid electrolytes dominate the supercapacitor market due to their high ionic conductivity leading to high energy and power density metrics. However, with the increase in demand for portable and implantable consumer electronics, all solid-state supercapacitor systems with high safety are an attractive option from both application perspectives and their similar charge storage mechanism. For solid state ionic capacitors, there remains significant room for innovation to increase the ionic conductivity and capacitor architecture to enhance the performance of these devices. Nano-structuring along with advanced manufacturing techniques such as atomic layer deposition (ALD) are powerful tools to augment the performance metrics of these all-solid-state capacitors that can compete with state-of-the-art liquid electrolyte-based supercapacitors. This dissertation has two primary objectives; 1) Study the behavior of polymorphs of ALD LiPON as a capacitor material and 2) Enhance the performance metrics using advanced materials and 3D nanostructuring for improved energy storage and high-frequency applications.

In this work, ALD LiPON-based solid state capacitors are fabricated with a gold current collector to study the behavior of the solid electrolyte. LiPON shows a dual energy storage behavior, in low frequency (<10 kHz), LiPON shows an ionic behavior with electric double layer type energy storage, beyond this frequency, LiPON shows an electrostatic behavior with a dielectric constant of 14. The capacitor stack’s thin film structure and dual frequency behavior allow for extended frequency operation of these capacitors (100 Hz to 2000 MHz). Next, LiPON’s energy storage metrics are enhanced using pseudocapacitive energy storage behavior and enhanced surface area in ALD oxy-TiN. Finally, new fabrication techniques and ALD recipes are developed and optimized for integration into 3D templates. For fabrication of these capacitors, the material’s chemistry is analyzed, and ALD techniques are developed to enhance the deposition of electrode/electrolyte materials and current collectors into the 3D nanostructures. The intermixing during the ALD processes are studied to understand the behavior and reliability of these thin films. This work highlights LiPON characteristics as a capacitor material for high-energy and high-frequency applications. Though incomplete, we discuss progress towards the development of all ALD solid-state 3D supercapacitors that can compete against state-of-the-art capacitors available in the market.