none

RESEARCHERS ON TRACK TO DEVELOP NEXT-GEN ELECTRONICS

22-12-2015
by 
in 

Liquid is often seen as the kryptonite of electronics, known for damaging and corroding components.

That’s why a new process that uses vapour– rather than liquid – to grow designer crystals could lead to a new breed of faster, more powerful electronic devices.

The method, invented by an international team of scientists from the University of Leuven in Belgium, the National University of Singapore and CSIRO was published in the journal Nature Materials.

For the first time, the researchers have shown how the designer crystals known as ‘metal organic frameworks’ or MOFs, can be grown using a vapour method that is similar to steam hovering over a pot of hot water.

The crystals are the world’s most porous materials, and if applied to microelectronic devices, could significantly boost their processing power. 

However according to CSIRO researcher Mark Styles, up until now these crystals could only be grown and applied using a liquid solvent, making them unsuitable for electronics applications. 

"Just like your smart phone doesn’t like being dropped in water, electronic devices don’t like the liquid solvent that’s used to grow MOF crystals," Dr Styles said.

"It can corrode and damage the delicate circuitry.

"Our new vapour method for growing and applying MOF crystals overcomes this barrier and has the potential to disrupt the microelectronics industry.

"On the atomic scale, MOF crystals look like bird cages that can be tailor-made to be different shapes and sizes.

"They have an extremely large surface area, meaning they can be up to 80 per cent empty inside.

"The net result is a structure where almost every atom is exposed to empty space: one gram of MOF crystals has a surface area of over 5000 square metres – that’s the size of a football field.

"Crucially, we can use this vast space to trap other molecules, which can change the properties of a material.

"In the case of electronics, this means we can fit a lot more transistors on a microchip, making it faster and far more powerful."

The international team, which was led by Ivo Stassen and Professor Rob Ameloot from the University of Leuven in Belgium, drew on specialist X-ray analysis techniques from CSIRO and the Australian Synchrotron to understand how the vapour process works, and how it can be used to grow the MOF crystals.

According to Dr Styles, the applications for MOFs can only be limited by your imagination.

"Another potential use for this technology would be in portable chemical sensing devices that could be used in hazardous environments such as chemical processing plants and underground mines," he said.

The Nature Materials paper is available at Chemical vapour deposition of zeolitic imidazolate framework thin films 

Related news & editorials

  1. 20.09.2018
    20.09.2018
    by      In
    Control Logic has set its sights on expansion, with a new leadership team incorporating key roles in products and marketing, sales and development, and operations and services. The move aims to increase the company’s skill set and focus to drive innovation and expand the company’s expertise and... Read More
  2. 19.09.2018
    19.09.2018
    by      In
    The Australian Made Campaign is providing some valuable support for the nation’s furniture manufacturers with its latest initiative, which urges local buyers to ‘take comfort in their purchase’ and choose genuine Aussie furniture, bedding and furnishings this spring.
    According to Australian Made... Read More
  3. 12.09.2018
    12.09.2018
    by      In
    Siemens has unveiled its new manufacturing facility in Yatala (Queensland), which has been set up to support the growing global demand for the locally developed Fusesaver medium-voltage circuit breaker.
    The new factory is part of an ongoing $25 million investment in manufacturing and research of... Read More
  4. 11.09.2018
    11.09.2018
    by      In
    APS Industrial has relocated its Melbourne base into an all-new 4500m2 head office and national distribution centre in Rowville. The new facility includes an interactive product showcase room and state of the art conference facility.
    According to APS Industrial MD David Hegarty, “Since our launch... Read More