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Self-organization in a sol-gel thin film

Self-organized nanoclusters in a thin film elaborated by sol-gel, this is possible! The nanocluster organization is closely related to the pore arrangement in the annealed films. This discovery of scientists from Inac/SP2M, Liten and University Grenoble Alpes still widens the applications of sol-gel thin films.

Published on 24 February 2015
In-Ga-Zn-O is a visibly-transparent semiconductor, playing a critical role in the fabrication of many current and emerging optoelectronic devices. Scientists showed, for the first time, that self-organized nanoclusters were obtained in In-Ga-Zn-O thin films elaborated by sol-gel. Microscopy and grazing incidence small-angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS) reveal the formation of nanometer-sized nanoclusters together with the spontaneous creation of a mesopore pattern.

Our results on self-organized nanoclusters could be excellent models for novel fundamental studies of nanoclusters in mesoporous matrices. This approach could be used, for example, in electronics, magnetism, and thermoelectricity.

Pores in a semiconductor thin film (left), zinc-rich nanoclusters (center), gallium-rich nanoclusters (right) observed by microscopy (first row) and small-angle X-ray scattering (second row).
The GISAXS experiment was performed on the CRG/D2AM beamline at the ESRF in Grenoble.

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