Nicole Love


Faculty Mentor: Karen Gleason

Direct Supervisor: Brian Plouffe

Home University: University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Major: Chemical Engineering



I am from Medway, Massachusetts. I am currently a junior studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and plan to earn a Ph.D. within the field. My career goals consist of helping to solve the world’s energy crises.  In my spare time I love being outdoors playing any type of sport or going for a relaxing walk. I also enjoy being on the water whether swimming, boating, or kayaking.


Parametric Analysis Towards Evaluating the Feasibility and Optimization of Batch Initiated Chemical Vapor Deposition

Initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD) involves thermally decomposing an initiator in the gas phase using an array of heated filaments, which when adsorbed together with a monomer from the vapor phase onto a cooled surface yields a polymer coating. Throughout the reaction, the initiator and monomer are continuously flowed into the reactor via flow controllers and simultaneously evacuated from the reactor by vacuum. In contrast to current continuous depositions, we aimed to investigate the possibility of iCVD batch processing, where the reactor is completely sealed off from the vacuum after introduction of the initiator and monomer, as an alternative method of deposition. We analyzed the different parameters involved in the batch deposition process, including ratio of initiator to monomer, filament temperature, and substrate temperature. The effects that these variables had on both thickness and retention of functionality of the deposited film were evaluated using an ellipsometer and a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (FTIR), respectively. We were able to optimize the reaction process by identifying the individual trends associated with specific changes made to these variables. This optimized batch process produced depositions that were functionally comparable to those made from continuous reactions for all conditions. Two different filament temperatures were evaluated, 220°C and 300°C, and it was determined that the uniformity of the batch film was superior at the lower temperature, but average thickness was ultimately sacrificed.  Also, lower substrate temperatures yielded thicker films, due to higher adsorption of the reactive species.  In comparison to continuous iCVD, the lack of flowing monomer during batch reactions requires the use significantly less monomer making it a more cost-effective method. Overall, this parametric analysis has uncovered the current advantages and limitations as well as future potential of performing iCVD as a batch process.