(617c) Mechanistic Insights into Low Temperature Ceramic Thin Film Growth and Crystallization Using Microwave Radiation
This work combines experimental and computational methods to gain key mechanistic insights into the low temperature crystallization of ceramic (e.g., TiO2) thin films by selective microwave-radiation (MWR) heating of solid materials within a growth solution. Preliminary results show that selective heating of a conducting layer (e.g., metal) by MWR assists in assembling thin films directly on various substrates (e.g., glass, metal, plastic) and significantly lowers the solution temperatures (150 oC) required for growing crystalline anatase TiO2 thin films. In contrast, conventional sintering and hydrothermal processes require high post-deposition annealing temperatures (> 400 oC). This new processing marks a significant decrease in energy consumption, as microwave heating of the solution to 150 °C uses only 0.18% of the energy as heating a furnace to 450 °C, and demonstrates the advantages of MWR-assisted heating reported previously: reduced temperatures and reaction time, and improved product yield when compared with conventional synthesis routes.