The electronics sector continuously strives to develop and launch new high technology products that advance society.
Understanding matter at the nanometre scale is crucial for the design of electronic materials and devices with finely tuned properties and behaviours for a huge range of applications.
Diamond’s facilities are unique in the world providing a range of research techniques that will enable electronics companies to exploit fully new and emerging technologies.
Below are some examples fo how these techniques have been applied.
Transparent conducting films are an important component of modern life, providing optically transparent and electrically conductive material for a wide range of devices, such as smart phones, touchscreens and solar panels. The field’s most widely used material is tin-doped In2O3 (ITO), accounting for 60% of both global indium use and the transparent conductor market. However, indium is expensive, so there is strong demand for a cheaper alternative or a way to use less indium.Read more...
Titanium dioxide is one of the most widely used metal oxides and in recent years it has attracted increasing attention in the form of thin films for applications in microelectronics. In particular, it has found potential application in resistive random access memory (RRAM) cells, where the titanium dioxide active layer is sandwiched between two metal electrodes in a metal-insulator-metal (MIM) device architecture. Because of their simple structure, RRAM cells, also known as memristors, can be incorporated into devices with high density that function at low power and high speed. The importance of RRAM devices is due to the fact that they exhibit resistive switching; i.e., they have the ability to toggle their corresponding resistance between high and low resistance states by application of an appropriate voltage. However, this resistive switching mechanism is not currently well understood and is still a matter of debate.Read more...
Liquid crystal displays (LCDs) are currently very inefficient in terms of energy use. An electric field governs the direction of the liquid crystal molecules (which switches each pixel on or off) but currently a combination of polarisation filters and colour filters are used to view each pixel and provide colour. Each of these filters also block some of the light. The result is that only approximately 9% of the backlight is emitted from the display itself so is important to find alternative ways of controlling pixels and colour in LCD displays to reduce cost and energy consumption.Read more...
Conducting polymers such as poly(aniline) (PANI) have shown great potential for application in flexible electronic devices. They represent an opportunity to utilise low cost, large scale manufacturing processes compared those required to produce inorganic semiconducting materials. However, such polymer based semiconductors suffer structural defects, which significantly limit the conductivity achievable.Read more...
In theory, sufficient energy reaches the earth’s surface from the sun to meet all of our foreseeable energy needs in a sustainable manner. In practice, the best currently available technology for converting solar energy into electricity – the silicon photovoltaic cell - is very expensive and intrinsically difficult to manufacture on a large scale. Organic based photovoltaics (OPV) that can be manufactured using environmentally friendly materials in low temperature, low cost continuous processes could make a significant contribution to total energy demands.Read more...
The rapid progress in micro-miniaturisation of information storage has reached a stage where quantum mechanical effects become a limiting factor. The new field of spin transport electronics or ‘spintronics’ exploits both the spin and charge of electrons to combine the characteristics of magnetic and semiconductor devices to develop a new generation of smaller, more energy efficient storage systems.Read more...
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