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. 20.07.2018
    20.07.2018
    by      In
    The Innovative Manufacturing CRC has signed a framework agreement with the Fraunhofer Society with the aim of increasing the awareness and uptake of Industry 4.0 in Australian manufacturing industry.
    The German Fraunhofer Society is one of Europe’s leading organisations for applied research, and... Read More
  2. 19.07.2018
    19.07.2018
    by      In
    The Australian Made Campaign has named Ben Lazzaro as its new Chief Executive, succeeding Ian Harrison, who steps down at the end of July. The announcement was made following the organisation’s board meeting this week in Melbourne.
    Lazzaro, who has an engineering and communications background, has... Read More
  3. 19.07.2018
    19.07.2018
    by      In
    Siemens Australia and Motorola Solutions have formalised their relationship to develop innovative technologies for Australia’s industrial sector via an exclusive partnership. Motorola Solutions has joined the Siemens’ Solution Partner Programme, becoming only the second company in Australia... Read More
  4. 18.07.2018
    18.07.2018
    by      In
    Australia’s only dedicated trade event for the electronics industry will this year be held in Sydney in September. Electronex – The Electronics Design and Assembly Expo will be staged on 5th and 6th September at Rosehill Gardens Event Centre with free parking for visitors.
    The expo is now in its... Read More