Novel Method for Forming Thin Films on Substrates

Physical Sciences : Materials and Compounds

Available for licensing


  • Arumugam Manthiram, Ph.D. , Mechanical Engineering
  • Baby Reeja Jayan , Mechanical Engineering
  • Eun Sung Lee , University of Texas at Austin
  • Katharine Harrison , University of Texas at Austin

Background/unmet need

Conventional gas-phase thin film deposition processes such as physical vapor deposition, atomic layer deposition and sputtering are expensive and require annealing at temperatures above 500°C to obtain crystalline films. The growing demand to create crystalline thin films on less traditional substrates that are flexible—like plastics or polymers—are not amenable to such high-temperature processes.

Invention Description

Inventors at The University of Texas at Austin have demonstrated a method using electric film gradients for directed self-assembly of oxide films that provides a low-temperature, low-cost, fast technique for generating thin films on a variety of substrate materials. The process can be adapted to many substrates and can also be tuned to produce patterned films of several technologically relevant oxide semiconductors. The ability to grow oxide films in a controlled manner at temperatures around 150°C makes this process usable on heat-sensitive substrates like plastics, which may decompose at temperatures above 200°C.


  • Low temperature
  • Rapid processing time
  • Energy savings compared to standard high temp processes


  • Low cost
  • Simplistic

Market potential/applications

The fully solution-based process can be adapted to grow crystalline semiconductor oxide thin films, such as TiO2, on flexible substrates to enable flexible electronic devices, such as photodetectors, photovoltaics, sensors, and thin film batteries.

Development Stage

Proof of concept