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. worker
    07.05.2021
    07.05.2021
    by      In , In , In
    A $325,000 government grant has helped regional Victoria’s largest co-packing business increase its productivity through the introduction of an innovative product line and new automated equipment. 
    The grant, from the Agriculture Workforce Plan, has also enabled the Australian Disability Enterprise... Read More
  2. Angus Taylor
    06.05.2021
    06.05.2021
    by      In
    The Australian Government has given the green light to the construction of three large hydrogen plants in Victoria and Western Australia that will be among the world’s biggest.
    More than $100 million in conditional funding has been awarded through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA)... Read More
  3. Lab
    05.05.2021
    05.05.2021
    by      In , In
    Newly launched space startup Quasar Satellite Technologies is set to revolutionise space communications, using radio telescope technology developed by the CSIRO. 
    With more than 57,000 satellites set to be launched by the end of the decade, Quasar is creating a world-leading ground station service... Read More
  4. 29.04.2021
    29.04.2021
    by      In
    In memory of Mr Lapp, the founding family set up the Oskar Lapp Foundation in 1992. This provides young scientists with incentives to effectively engage them in cardiovascular research. The Oskar Lapp Research Prize, worth 12,000 Euro, is presented annually, while the Oskar Lapp Grant, which... Read More
Products
Suppliers