Improved Process for Synthesis and Deposition of Chalcogenide Glass Thin Films

Physical Sciences : Materials and Compounds

Available for licensing


  • Keith Stevenson, Ph.D. , Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Sankaran Murugesan , University of Texas at Austin
  • Patrick Kearns , University of Texas at Austin

Background/unmet need

Chalcogenide materials—those containing the elements sulfur, selenium, and tellurium—have been shown to have useful semiconducting properties when formed into glass matrices and deposited on various substrates (e.g., silicon). The physical properties of chalcogenide glasses (high refractive index, low phonon energy, high nonlinearity) also make them ideal for incorporation into lasers and other active electro-optical devices, especially if doped with rare-earth ions. Products such as non-volatile memory chips, re-writable CDs and DVDs, and smart cards take advantage of these materials’ unique properties.

Current methods for manufacturing and depositing materials such as GeS, and GeSbTe, require the use of hazardous gases, like H2S and GeH4, at high temperatures in expensive thin film deposition equipment. The ability to produce chalcogenide films more safely and efficiently has been a driving force behind advanced circuitry development for many years.

Invention Description

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a method for synthesizing and depositing thin films of GeSx and other chalcogenide glasses via chemical and electrochemical means. The process takes advantage of room-temperature ionic liquid reactants and electrochemical deposition to form thin films of GeSx with a high level of precision and control.


  • Less complex synthesis process
  • No hazardous gas phase reactions required
  • Room-temperature reaction requires less energy than high-temperature chemical vapor deposition or sputtering processes
  • Improved control of chalcogenide material thickness and composition
  • Easier to scale up than comparable thin film deposition


  • Room temperature liquid phase synthesis
  • Efficient reaction mechanism reduces waste

Market potential/applications

Non-volatile memory chips; re-writable CDs and DVDs; thermal imaging; anti-reflective coatings; inorganic photoresist; resistance random-access memory (ReRAM)


Development Stage

Proof of concept

IP Status