Antibacterial and barrier properties of oriented polymer films with ZnO thin films applied with atomic layer deposition at low temperatures

Mika Vähä-Nissi (Corresponding Author), Marja Pitkänen, Erkki Salo, Eija Kenttä, A Tanskanen (Corresponding Author), T Sajavaara (Corresponding Author), Matti Putkonen, Jenni Sievänen, Asko Sneck, Marjaana Rättö, M Karppinen, Ali Harlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Concerns on food safety, and need for high quality and extended shelf-life of packaged foods have promoted the development of antibacterial barrier packaging materials. Few articles have been available dealing with the barrier or antimicrobial properties of zinc oxide thin films deposited at low temperature with atomic layer deposition (ALD) onto commercial polymer films typically used for packaging purposes. The purpose of this paper was to study the properties of ZnO thin films compared to those of aluminum oxide. It was also possible to deposit ZnO thin films onto oriented polylactic acid and polypropylene films at relatively low temperatures using ozone instead of water as an oxidizing precursor for diethylzinc. Replacing water with ozone changed both the structure and the chemical composition of films deposited on silicon wafers. ZnO films deposited with ozone contained large grains covered and separated probably by a more amorphous and uniform layer. These thin films were also assumed to contain zinc salts of carboxylic acids. The barrier properties of a 25 nm ZnO thin film deposited with ozone at 100 °C were quite close to those obtained earlier with ALD Al2O3 of similar apparent thickness on similar polymer films. ZnO thin films deposited at low temperature indicated migration of antibacterial agent, while direct contact between ZnO and Al2O3 thin films and bacteria promoted antibacterial activity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331 - 337
JournalThin Solid Films
Issue numberJuly
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Aluminum oxide
  • antibacterial
  • atomic layer deposition
  • barrier
  • growth
  • zinc oxide


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