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EPSRC Reference: GR/T08869/01
Title: Unit-cell level assembly of complex oxides - developing a new synthetic method for oxide chemistry
Principal Investigator: Rosseinsky, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Jones, Professor A.C. Goodhew, Professor PJ Chalker, Professor PR
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
CNRS Group SAFC Hitech
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Liverpool
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 October 2004 Ends: 30 September 2007 Value (£): 307,031
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
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Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Complex oxides exhibit a wide range of functional properties including high temperature superconductivity; colossal magnetoresistance; piezo- and ferroelectricity; relaxor and microwave dielectric behaviour; ionic and mixed oxide/electronic transport and metallic conductivity with optical transparency. The application of a battery of structural and electronic characterisation tools tothese materials has produced exceptionally well-defined structure-property composition relationships, which challenge synthesis by defining new, more complex target systems that are increasingly demanding to prepare. New examples of such materials are isolated by a well-worn path involving high temperature synthesis, often under thermodynamic control. Modern film deposition methods now offer exquisite, layer-by-layer control of the assembly of ordered materials epitaxially on a substrate, and are widely exploited in the electronics industry in device manufacture involving the deposition of known, well-studied materials. This extent of control provides a clear opportunity in the search for new materials, which we propose to exploit by building on the pulsed liquid injection CVD technique that is well-established in Liverpool. The goal here is to use this processing technology as a synthetic route to perform fundamental oxide chemistry and prepare materials that one could not envisage obtaining using bulk methods. The pulsed liquid injection CVD (PLICVD) method controls the flux of reagents to the surface by injecting sub-umolar quantities of an organometallic precursor into a conventional hot wall CVD reactor. Monolayer coverages are achieved after 10 - 1000 pulses of precursor have been injected into the system. Conversion into the growing oxide film is achieved via thermal decomposition at the growth surface in the presence of an oxidant. A wide range of precursors is available which gives considerable synthetic flexibility both in terms of element selection and reaction temperature. We will use this to prepare new oxide materials, designed on the basis of existing structural chemistry and selected on the basis of structure-property-composition relationships, by assembling these systems in a layer-by-layer manner exploiting the kinetic control offered by the PLICVD technique. The target systems are selected to demonstrate not only the synthesis of difficult materials in principle but also to enhance the performance of existing materials in magnetoresistance, ferroelectrics and multiferroics. The new nanostructured oxides will be characterised with a wide range of physical methods to enable optimisation of the synthetic method.
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Organisation Website: http://www.liv.ac.uk