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Tunable near-infrared and visible-light transmittance in nanocrystal-in-glass composites.

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Nature

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      Abstract

      Amorphous metal oxides are useful in optical, electronic and electrochemical devices. The bonding arrangement within these glasses largely determines their properties, yet it remains a challenge to manipulate their structures in a controlled manner. Recently, we developed synthetic protocols for incorporating nanocrystals that are covalently bonded into amorphous materials. This 'nanocrystal-in-glass' approach not only combines two functional components in one material, but also the covalent link enables us to manipulate the glass structure to change its properties. Here we illustrate the power of this approach by introducing tin-doped indium oxide nanocrystals into niobium oxide glass (NbOx), and realize a new amorphous structure as a consequence of linking it to the nanocrystals. The resulting material demonstrates a previously unrealized optical switching behaviour that will enable the dynamic control of solar radiation transmittance through windows. These transparent films can block near-infrared and visible light selectively and independently by varying the applied electrochemical voltage over a range of 2.5 volts. We also show that the reconstructed NbOx glass has superior properties-its optical contrast is enhanced fivefold and it has excellent electrochemical stability, with 96 per cent of charge capacity retained after 2,000 cycles.

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      Most cited references 28

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      Room-temperature fabrication of transparent flexible thin-film transistors using amorphous oxide semiconductors.

      Transparent electronic devices formed on flexible substrates are expected to meet emerging technological demands where silicon-based electronics cannot provide a solution. Examples of active flexible applications include paper displays and wearable computers. So far, mainly flexible devices based on hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) and organic semiconductors have been investigated. However, the performance of these devices has been insufficient for use as transistors in practical computers and current-driven organic light-emitting diode displays. Fabricating high-performance devices is challenging, owing to a trade-off between processing temperature and device performance. Here, we propose to solve this problem by using a novel semiconducting material--namely, a transparent amorphous oxide semiconductor from the In-Ga-Zn-O system (a-IGZO)--for the active channel in transparent thin-film transistors (TTFTs). The a-IGZO is deposited on polyethylene terephthalate at room temperature and exhibits Hall effect mobilities exceeding 10 cm2 V(-1) s(-1), which is an order of magnitude larger than for hydrogenated amorphous silicon. TTFTs fabricated on polyethylene terephthalate sheets exhibit saturation mobilities of 6-9 cm2 V(-1) s(-1), and device characteristics are stable during repetitive bending of the TTFT sheet.
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        Tin-Based Amorphous Oxide: A High-Capacity Lithium-Ion-Storage Material

         Y Idota (1997)
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          Flexible metal-oxide devices made by room-temperature photochemical activation of sol-gel films.

          Amorphous metal-oxide semiconductors have emerged as potential replacements for organic and silicon materials in thin-film electronics. The high carrier mobility in the amorphous state, and excellent large-area uniformity, have extended their applications to active-matrix electronics, including displays, sensor arrays and X-ray detectors. Moreover, their solution processability and optical transparency have opened new horizons for low-cost printable and transparent electronics on plastic substrates. But metal-oxide formation by the sol-gel route requires an annealing step at relatively high temperature, which has prevented the incorporation of these materials with the polymer substrates used in high-performance flexible electronics. Here we report a general method for forming high-performance and operationally stable metal-oxide semiconductors at room temperature, by deep-ultraviolet photochemical activation of sol-gel films. Deep-ultraviolet irradiation induces efficient condensation and densification of oxide semiconducting films by photochemical activation at low temperature. This photochemical activation is applicable to numerous metal-oxide semiconductors, and the performance (in terms of transistor mobility and operational stability) of thin-film transistors fabricated by this route compares favourably with that of thin-film transistors based on thermally annealed materials. The field-effect mobilities of the photo-activated metal-oxide semiconductors are as high as 14 and 7 cm(2) V(-1) s(-1) (with an Al(2)O(3) gate insulator) on glass and polymer substrates, respectively; and seven-stage ring oscillators fabricated on polymer substrates operate with an oscillation frequency of more than 340 kHz, corresponding to a propagation delay of less than 210 nanoseconds per stage.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ] The Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 1 Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.
            Journal
            Nature
            Nature
            1476-4687
            0028-0836
            Aug 15 2013
            : 500
            : 7462
            nature12398
            10.1038/nature12398
            23955232

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