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Advancing multifunctional electronic devices

Nanoscale structures of surfaces and interfaces play a critical role in the functionality of advanced materials. EU-funded researchers investigated interfaces of novel oxides and engineering of specific functionalities with the potential to revolutionise the electronics industry.

Industrial Technologies

The atomic-scale control of structures has resulted in numerous milestones in the history of electronics. These include the development of so called p-n junctions of semiconductors, of the field effect transistor (FET) and, more recently, of quantum devices. Silicon technology that has formed the cornerstone of computer and telecommunications electronics is approaching a physical limit in scale reduction. At the same time, increasing demands on the electronics industry for greater functionality in less space at lower cost has led to growing interest in oxide materials, particularly transition metal oxides. These compounds display a number of useful physical properties as well as extreme sensitivity to pressure, electric fields and magnetic fields. Another family of oxides, the so called perovskite type with crystalline structure, also exhibits many intriguing properties such as superconductivity, ferromagnetism, ferroelectricity and semi-conducting or metallic behaviour. The ‘Novel nanoscale devices based on functional oxide interfaces’ (Nanoxide) project was conceived to investigate, control and exploit the structural, physical and chemical properties of selected interfaces in transition metal oxides with perovskite type structures. The objective was to pave the way for new nano-sized electronic and optoelectronic devices. In fact, the Nanoxide project team significantly advanced understanding of the complex physical properties of oxide compounds, engineering of oxide-based interfaces with novel functional properties and development of processes related to materials deposition and nano-patterning of oxide compounds. Commercialisation of the Nanoxide project results should open the way for exciting new applications based on the collective nature of the oxide materials’ electronic behaviours as compared to conventional semiconductors. Detailed understanding and exploitation of the nanoscale structures and properties enables tailor-made solutions to various engineering problems. Thus, the Nanoxide project outcomes could facilitate a leading role for the European electronics industry in the next great milestone in the evolution of electronics and optoelectronics.

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