This invention describes a new approach for utilizing atomic layer deposited (ALD) metal oxides as a stationary phase for microfabricated gas chromatography columns. After ALD oxide deposition, a chloroalkylsilane is utilized to deactivate the oxide surface to improve peak symmetry and retention times. Semipacked columns (1m-long, 190 um-wide with 20 um-embedded circular micropillars) were utilized for validation of this newly developed approach. ALD uses self-limiting gas phase chemical reactions for deposition, making it suitable for micromachined columns having very high-aspect ratios. The use of ALD for stationary phase coating ensures good selectivity, separations and retention of different compounds. The inherent properties of atomic layer deposition provide an easy route to practically coat any microfabricated column architecture. The metal oxide thin film provides surface properties that can improve the binding of polymer-based stationary phases and thus can act as a template for deposition of these polymeric phases. Moreover, this technique also provides an innovative wafer-level coating approach that is compatible with standard CMOS and MEMS processes.