"Nowadays, a pressing demand for new materials with appealing multifunctional properties is pulling the research in materials science. In this context, as the properties of inorganic solids are intimately linked to their crystal structures, an interesting approach to extend the range of properties and applications of a particular compound is discovering and stabilising at ambient conditions new metastable polymorphs of thermodynamically stable structures. A fruitful strategy to stabilize metastable phases is the synthesis of nanoscale polymorphs under matrix confinement. Interestingly, some of those metastable polymorphs which can only be stabilized in spatially restricted fields, display outstanding multifunctional properties that could find important technological applications. Exploring, identifying and understanding the fundamental aspects of this stabilizing mechanism will be the first objective of the project.
Some model metastable polymorphs with applicability in Information and Communication Technologies as memory or sensor devices that will be investigated in the project are: ε-Fe2O3, λ-Ti3O5 and a new phase of La0.7Sr0.3MnO3.
The matrix confined synthesis is not always well matched for the integration of these nano-oxides into devices which requires a thorough control of the microstructure of the functional oxides and its precise positioning in a technological substrate. Addressing the above limitation is the second leading objective of the project."
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