Thin film combinatorial libraries: Deposition principles and specialized tools for development of new materials
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HU-JKU Joint Symposium on Chemical Sciences and Engineering
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Physical thin film formation from vapour phase is a method technically and industrially highly relevant which uses various approaches for bringing the source material into vapour phase. Most common approaches are thermal evaporation or sputtering. Therefore, high and ultra-high vacuum systems are required which are generally expensive and must be customized for best fulfilling a certain thin film deposition requirement. The simultaneous deposition from several sources leads to obtaining compositionally graded samples used for various properties screening with specialized tools. The scanning droplet cell microscopy (SDCM) is such a specialized tool developed from the need of localized electrochemistry. Combining the thin film technology with electrochemistry is a sound example of interdisciplinary work, possibly unveiling unique properties during the effort for new materials development.
Modern microelectrochemical cells used in SDCM are fully developed three electrode electrochemical systems capable of performing any electrochemical investigation, e.g. anodization and corrosion studies, impedance spectroscopy, Mott-Schottky analysis, etc. Due to the controlled surface mapping capabilities, the use of SDCM for applications in thin film combinatorial libraries characterization was the simplest and most logical choice for electrochemical properties screening. The high surface localization achievable when using SDCM allows a very good compositional resolution to be easily obtained during the imaging of a certain property along the thin film library. A typical compositional resolution is 1 at% but also better required resolutions are possible if the diameter of the cell tip and the compositional spread are carefully designed.
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