In a breakthrough, Indian scientists are among those researchers who have discovered a new nano material that may result in making electronic devices smaller, faster and more powerful.
The nano-scale thin film material features high conductivity which allows electronics to conduct more electricity and become more powerful, said researchers led by the University of Minnesota in the US. This is the USP of the nano material, they said.
Also, a wide bandgap allows light to pass easily through the material that makes it optically transparent, they said. In most of the cases, the materials that have a wide bandgap usually have either poor transparency or low conductivity.
“The high conductivity and wide bandgap make this an ideal material for making optically transparent conducting films which could be used in a wide variety of electronic devices,” said Bharat Jalan, professor at University of Minnesota and the lead researcher on the study.
This includes “high power electronics, electronic displays, touchscreens and even solar cells in which light needs to pass through the device,” Jalan said.
Currently, a chemical element known as indium is used by most of the transparent conductors in electronics. Researchers said that what adds significantly to the cost of current display technology is the price of indium, that has shoot up tremendously in the past few years.
In the backdrop of the rising prices of indium, there have been tremendous efforts to look for alternative materials that work as well, or even better, than indium-based transparent conductors.
Using a novel syntheses method in the new study, researchers come up with a transparent conducting thin film. They grew a BaSnO3 thin film (a combination of barium, tin and oxygen, called barium stannate) but replaced elemental tin source with a chemical precursor of tin.
The chemical precursor of tin has unique, radical properties that enhanced the chemical reactivity and greatly improved the metal oxide formation process.
Both barium and tin are significantly cheaper than indium and are abundantly available.
“We were quite surprised at how well this unconventional approach worked the very first time we used the tin chemical precursor,” said Abhinav Prakash, graduate student at University of Minnesota.
“It was a big risk, but it was quite a big breakthrough for us,” said Prakash, the first author of the paper published in the journal Nature Communications.
(With inputs from PTI)