Currently, there are a variety of techniques to deposit metal thin films ranging from high vacuum techniques such as chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and physical vapor deposition (PVD), through to solution methods like sol-gel. While the vacuum techniques can be limited by size and cost, sol-gel can be limited be the availability of appropriate precursors. All of these techniques have the further limitation that they cannot be used to coat porous materials conformally.
Polymer assisted deposition (PAD) addresses some of the limitations of sol-gel and costs of high vacuum techniques. PAD utilizes an aqueous polymer to bind a metal or metal complex that serves both to encapsulate the metal to prevent chemical reaction and maintain an even distribution of the metal in solution. Another advantage that PAD has is that the same solution can be used as precursors for the growth of metal oxide or reduced metal films. Herein, we report on the utility of PAD in preparing metal oxide films used to conformally coat porous material and reduced metal films.