Inorganic Synthesis of Heterobimetallic Carbamate Cluster Complexes as Precursors to Solar Cell Electrode or Nanomagnet Thin Films

Matthew R. Hill1,2 and Robert N. Lamb1

1. School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne
2. CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering

Common materials often take on special properties when nanostructured into thin films. For example, a material such as zinc oxide, often used in sunscreen, becomes capable of application in solar cells or microelectronics. Whilst much engineering work has been done to further tune the properties of thin films by changing the nanostructure, chemistry-based approaches to change the elemental composition have not been explored.

We have previously grown ZnxMg1-xO thin films for band-gap engineering applications using a facile technique known as Single Source Chemical Vapour Deposition (SSCVD),[1, 2] which does not rely on complex equipment like most other techniques. The further success of SSCVD depends on synthetic inorganic chemistry and the ability to make new precursor molecules.

The aim of this project will be to synthesise heterobimetallic carbamate cluster complexes and use SSCVD to deposit new types of thin film nanomaterials. Possible materials include ZnCdO thin films which could be used for tuning the thin film band gap for use in solar cells, or Mg(Mn/Ni/Co)O thin films which could be ‘nanomagnets’ and be useful in spintronics. Characterisation of precursor molecules will involve single crystal X-Ray Diffractometry, and thin film analysis will employ scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Near-Edge X-Ray Absorption Fine Structure (NEXAFS) at the Australian Synchrotron.

1. Hill, M. R.; Russell, J. J.; Lamb, R. N., Chem. Mater. 2008, 20(7), 2461.

2. Hill, M. R., Russell, J. J., Jensen P., Lamb, R. N., Dalton Trans. 2008, (20), 2751.