none
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. 20.02.2018
    20.02.2018
    by      In
    Thousands of visitors, exhibitors, and speakers from around the world are expected to attend National Manufacturing Week (NMW), to be held from 9th to 11th May 2018 at the Sydney Showground.
    With registrations now open, the free-to-attend event will offer unrivalled access to world-class speakers... Read More
  2. 20.02.2018
    20.02.2018
    by      In
    An in-depth analysis of the battery industry in Australia has shown that lithium totals a $2 trillion investment opportunity, and despite investment in other kinds of battery technology, Australia must act or be left behind in lithium tech. 
    The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC... Read More
  3. 20.02.2018
    20.02.2018
    by      In
    Lockheed Martin Australia has opened a new $12 million Lockheed Martin Australia House on the edge of Canberra’s Parliamentary Triangle. 
    The new office was opened by Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, who said the company has cemented its ongoing commitment to Australia's defence industry... Read More
  4. 20.02.2018
    20.02.2018
    by      In
    Expressions of interest have now opened for trade works on the Osborne Naval Shipbuilding Precinct infrastructure project, promising up to 600 new construction jobs, and ongoing maintenance procedures. 
    Under the project, new facilities will be required to support the continuous build programs for... Read More