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ERC

SCOPE Report Summary

Project ID: 307636
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: United Kingdom

Final Report Summary - SCOPE (Scandium-based multifunctional nitrides for optoelectronic, polaritonic and ferro/magnetoelectric devices)

In this project we have been developing a new group of materials which can be used to help us create new and more efficient types of electronic devices. The materials we have been working on are similar to the ones that you can find in commercially important applications like energy-efficient LED lighting and ultraviolet light emitters for water treatment. However, those materials (the group III nitride semiconductors AlN, GaN and InN) can only be used in some kinds of devices. We have tried to extend their properties by adding scandium, which should make it possible to use these materials in a much wider range of devices, including materials for thermoelectric and piezoelectric power generation, highly efficient lasers and artificial synapses. We have focused on ScGaN alloys in particular, as these are thermodynamically stable and have properties most well-suited for devices.

We have made ScGaN films across the full composition range in the form of extremely thin, highly crystalline layers, as required for devices. We have investigated their thin film growth modes and microstructure and have measured their stability, piezoelectric, electronic and optical properties. We have also performed theoretical simulations and experimental studies at European synchrotron facilities to explore the local bonding around the Sc atoms and to uncover the underlying physics of these new materials. We have found that the true electronic and optical properties of ScGaN alloys are different from those identified in previous studies. We have also found that planar crystalline defects within the films can affect their optical properties significantly.

Overall, after taking all our findings into consideration and assessing the potential for the use of these materials in devices, we find that ScGaN films appear to be most promising for applications in ultraviolet light emitters. We have fabricated devices which emit well in the UV part of the spectrum and are trying to reduce the emission wavelength to the region with water purification applications.

We have also designed, built and tested new equipment for making thin film-based devices, and have grown a wide range of different materials, which have been used in combination with simulations to create new devices.

Reported by

THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
United Kingdom
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