Volume 90 Issue 9 | p. 52 | Concentrates
Issue Date: February 27, 2012

Semiconductor Films Made On Water

Researchers devise a simple, scalable way to produce nanomembranes for flexible electronics
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Nano SCENE
Keywords: nanomembrane, zinc oxide, thin film, flexible electronics
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This micrograph shows a zinc hydroxy dodecyl sulfate membrane on a silicon substrate. The inset photo reveals the scale of the millimeters-wide film, which is floating on water in a petri dish.
Credit: ACS Nano
A micrograph shows an ultrathin membrane of zinc hydroxy dodecylsulfate resting on a silicon substrate. The inset photo reveals the large expanse of the film, floating on water in a petri dish.
 
This micrograph shows a zinc hydroxy dodecyl sulfate membrane on a silicon substrate. The inset photo reveals the scale of the millimeters-wide film, which is floating on water in a petri dish.
Credit: ACS Nano

Materials scientists have demonstrated a simple, inexpensive technique for growing ultrathin semiconductor sheets on the surface of water (ACS Nano, DOI: 10.1021/nn2050906). Current methods for making thin films, or nanomembranes, involve growing the materials on a solid substrate such as silicon and then etching away the substrate to release the membrane. This expensive, time-consuming method limits the types of materials that scientists can make because the membrane’s crystal structure ends up matching that of the substrate. In the new method, Xudong Wang and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, ditched the usual solid substrate and instead simply mixed two zinc oxide precursors in water and then added a high concentration of the surfactant sodium dodecyl sulfate. In a few hours, the water was covered with a zinc hydroxy dodecyl sulfate membrane a few hundred nanometers thick. The researchers then scooped up the film using a silicon or carbon substrate and heated it to produce a final zinc oxide film. Wang thinks the method holds promise for producing flexible electronics, light-emitting diodes, and medical sensors.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society

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