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Jenn with spin coater

Our research is directed to the synthesis and study of inorganic molecules and materials that will enable next-generation electronic and energy devices.  We have discovered and developed unique water-based chemistries for the deposition of very high-quality films.  In the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry, we have used these approaches to demonstrate leading results in ultra small-scale dense nanopatterning and tunneling electronic devices.  We are examining the fundamental connections between the water-based chemistries and function of thin films and unique nanostructures in a variety of formats. 

Our labs are equipped with a range of capabilities for everything from basic beaker chemistry to the synthesis of air-sensitive compounds such as organometallics. Shown below is one of our Schlenk lines.

The Schlenk line technique allows us to synthesize air-sensitive organometallic compounds safely and successfully. It consists of a dual manifold with several ports. One manifold is connected to a source of purified inert gas (argon), while the other is connected to a high-vacuum pump. The inert gas line is vented through an oil bubbler, while solvent vapors and gaseous reaction products are prevented from contaminating the vacuum pump through a liquid nitrogen cold trap.

In the Center for Inverse Design, we use theory-guided experiments to advance the capabilities of Inverse Design and to identify new solar absorber materials for photovoltaics (PV).  We emphasize the discovery and study of new materials exhibiting exceptionally high solar absorption that will enable scaling of PV to levels that allow us to effectively address the issues of climate change. 

Robert with X-ray instrument


The Materials Synthesis and Characterization Facility (MaSC) is a comprehensive resource that serves as both an open user facility and an innovation center.  MaSC faculty and staff provide deep experience in thin-film deposition, device fabrication, and materials analysis, serving as a hub for materials and device development on the Oregon State University campus.

The Beneq nFog aerosol deposition system allows for the deposition of thin films using a variety of solution precursors. Presently, the system has been used to deposit metal oxide thin films on wafers as large as 150 mm.

The Hiden temperature-programmed desorption (TPD) workstation introduces powerful new thin-film characterization capabilities to MaSC. Through the attached mass spectrometer, we are able to identify chemical species as they leave the thin-film materials under study during thermal ramp up.

The J.A. Woollam epectroscopic ellipsometer allows for the study of the optical and dielectric properties of thin films. We commonly use this instrument as a non-destructive way to determine the film thickness and refractive index of our samples. The instrument can be programmed with multi-point recipes which enable contour-like mapping of film characteristics.

The Digital Instruments NanoScope IIIa SPM atomic force microscope (AFM) allows us to determine the surface roughness of our materials with sub-nanometer resolution. Many of the thin films developed by the CSMC have atomically-smooth surfaces, which approach the noise floor of this instrument. The allowable sample sizes are approximately 1 cm x 1 cm.

View more on the MaSC homepage.