EUGENE, Ore. (July 21, 2014) The yield so far is small, but chemists at the University of Oregon have developed a low-energy, solution-based mineral substitution process to make a precursor to transparent thin films that could find use in electronics and alternative energy devices.
A paper describing the approach is highlighted on the cover of the July 21 issue of the journal Inorganic Chemistry, which draws the most citations of research in the inorganic and nuclear chemistry fields. The paper was chosen by the American Chemical Society journal as an ACS Editor's Choice for its potential scientific and broad public interest when it initially published online.
The process described in the paper represents a new approach to transmetalation, in which individual atoms of one metal complex -- a cluster in this case -- are individually substituted in water. For this study, Maisha K. Kamunde-Devonish and Milton N. Jackson Jr., doctoral students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, replaced aluminum atoms with indium atoms.
The goal is to develop inorganic clusters as precursors that result in dense thin films with negligible defects, resulting in new functional materials and thin-film metal oxides. The latter would have wide application in a variety of electronic devices.
"Since the numbers of compounds that fit this bill is small, we are looking at transmetelation as a method for creating new precursors with new combinations of metals that would circumvent barriers to performance," Kamunde-Devonish said.
Components in these devices now use deposition techniques that require a lot of energy in the form of pressure or temperature. Doing so in a more green way -- reducing chemical waste during preparation -- could reduce manufacturing costs and allow for larger-scale materials, she said.
"In essence," said co-author Darren W. Johnson, a professor of chemistry, "we can prepare one type
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University of Oregon