Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Microwave-assisted method for producing thin films

Date:
December 19, 2012
Source:
University of Texas at Austin
Summary:
Scientists have demonstrated that assembly of so-called thin films is possible at low temperatures. They are working toward the assembly of thin films in a variety of materials.

Growth of new materials is the cornerstone of materials science -- a highly inter-disciplinary field of science that touches every aspect of our lives from computers and cell phones to the clothes we wear. At the same time, the energy crisis has brought the spotlight on synthesis and growth of materials for clean energy technologies, such as solar cells and batteries. However, researchers in these areas do not simply grow materials -- they assemble the atoms and molecules that form so-called thin films on various substrates. It is a process that is highly complex, time-consuming and requires significantly high temperatures.

Now a multidisciplinary team at the University of Texas at Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering is using microwave energy to assemble atoms into thin films and grow them directly onto a substrate at significantly low temperatures. Results of the team's research conducted under the supervisions of Professor Arumugam Manthiram of the Texas Materials Institute and the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Professor Ali Yilmaz of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, were published in the 19th December issue of Nature Publications' online, open-access journal Scientific Reports.

"Lowering the temperature at which thin films of relevant materials can be grown is one of the key focus areas of our research," said Reeja Jayan, postdoctoral fellow at UT-Austin and one of the lead authors of the paper. "With our microwave process, we could bring down temperatures to the level that enable us to grow materials on heat-sensitive surfaces, such as plastics, without damaging them."

The conventional methods for growing thin films typically require temperatures over 450 degrees Celsius for several hours and a cumbersome multi-step process. With the new method, thin films can now be grown at temperatures as low as 150 degree Celsius in less than 30 minutes, in a single step process, by using microwaves.

"With this new method, the process of thin film growth is made simple, wherein a solution containing the atoms of the desired material together with the substrate when exposed to microwaves can result in controlled film growth" said Professor Manthiram who supervised the experimental work. "Applications that could utilize this process include developing thin film batteries and solar cells that could be integrated into various devices like cell phones and tablets."

The team coats a conducting layer -- similar to a metal -- over their substrate, which serves like an antenna to attract the microwaves. The energy from the microwaves then coerces atoms from the solution to "self-assemble" into uniform thin films on the substrate. The local heating generated by the interaction between the microwaves and the metal layer serves to fuse the thin films to the substrate. It is an interaction so powerful that it makes the films strongly adhere to the substrate.

As part of the research, a computational model of the process was developed by the team, which helps better understand the physics behind the microwave interaction phenomena and provides them with predictive guidelines that can significantly reduce the number of experiments needed for future research. The team at UT-Austin has successfully demonstrated assembly of titanium oxide thin films at low temperatures, and is currently working toward the assembly of thin films in a variety of materials.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas at Austin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. Reeja-Jayan, Katharine L. Harrison, K. Yang, Chih-Liang Wang, A. E. Yilmaz, Arumugam Manthiram. Microwave-assisted Low-temperature Growth of Thin Films in Solution. Scientific Reports, 2012; 2 DOI: 10.1038/srep01003

Cite This Page:

University of Texas at Austin. "Microwave-assisted method for producing thin films." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121219133646.htm>.
University of Texas at Austin. (2012, December 19). Microwave-assisted method for producing thin films. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121219133646.htm
University of Texas at Austin. "Microwave-assisted method for producing thin films." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121219133646.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins