Wenyuan Wang, Junli Zhu, Qi Huang, Lei Zhu, Ding Wang, Weimin Li, Wenjie Yu

DFT Exploration of Metal Ion–Ligand Binding: Toward Rational Design of Chelating Agent in Semiconductor Manufacturing

  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmaceutical Science

Chelating agents are commonly employed in microelectronic processes to prevent metal ion contamination. The ligand fragments of a chelating agent largely determine its binding strength to metal ions. Identification of ligands with suitable characteristics will facilitate the design of chelating agents to enhance the capture and removal of metal ions from the substrate in microelectronic processes. This study employed quantum chemical calculations to simulate the binding process between eleven ligands and the hydrated forms of Ni2+, Cu2+, Al3+, and Fe3+ ions. The binding strength between the metal ions and ligands was quantified using binding energy and binding enthalpy. Additionally, we explored the binding interaction mechanisms and explained the differences in binding abilities of the eleven ligands using frontier molecular orbitals, nucleophilic indexes, electrostatic potentials, and energy decomposition calculations based on molecular force fields. Based on our computational results, promising chelating agent structures are proposed, aiming to guide the design of new chelating agents to address metal ion contamination issues in integrated circuit processes.

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