Emerging Amorphous Metal Thin Film Technologies for Electronics Webinar


Dr. John Wager will present: Amorphous metal thin films as an innovation platform

A bulk metallic glass (BMG) has an amorphous microstructure with no grain boundaries. This has important technological implications. BMGs have remarkable mechanical strength properties due to the lack of dislocations and grain boundaries. Corrosion is strongly inhibited in a BMG since grain boundary mediated diffusion is eliminated. BMGs are currently or will soon be employed in a wide range of applications including golf clubs, cell phones, transformer cores, petroleum drill pipes, kinetic energy penetrators, digital light projectors, and power plant boiler tubes. Much international research activity has been directed to the science and technology of BMGs.

In contrast, there have been very few reports on amorphous metal thin films. This is likely a consequence of the fact that the resistivity of such films (~200 μΩ-cm) is dramatically inferior to that of a low-resistance metal such as copper (~2 μΩ-cm). In our view, this liability is not a showstopper. Resistivity is not critical for many applications. Where resistivity is important, amorphous metal thin films should be used as contact metals, not interconnects.

Our group at Oregon State University has been pioneering the use of amorphous metal thin films for electronic, optoelectronic, and other applications, e.g., metal-insulator-metal (MIM) tunnel diodes, amorphous nanolaminates, and MIM hot electron transistors. We believe that these applications are just the tip of the iceberg. The goal of this presentation is to review our prior work on amorphous metal thin films and to outline directions of possible future research activity and commercial development, including next-generation display backplanes.

Dr. Sean Muir will present:  The Commercial Potential of Amorphous Metal Electronics in the Display Industry

Electronic devices based on amorphous metals have shown promise in liquid crystal display (LCD) applications.  The amorphous metal non-linear resistor (AMNR) is presented as a circuit element in an LCD sub-pixel circuit.  The amorphous metal lower-electrode in an AMNR possesses an ultra-smooth surface, which enables reliable operations using ultra-thin insulators as tunneling barriers.  The thinness of the processing layers and the forgiving layer to layer registration requirements create a simple manufacturing process which has cost advantages over comparable thin-film transistor (TFT) based processes.

The goal of this presentation is to present a brief overview of the important technologies associated with amorphous metal based devices targeted at LCD applications.  Comparisons between AMNR, TFT, and past thin-film diode (TFD) technologies will be made to illustrate the advantages of amorphous metal based devices.  Remaining challenges will be discussed at a high-level to present a picture of the remaining hurdles to commercialization.

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Gene Karwacki, 
Electronics Division, 
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. 
SEMI Chemicals and Gases Manufacturers Group




John F. Wager holds the Michael and Judith Gaulke Endowed Chair in the School of EECS at Oregon State University. He is lead author of a book entitled “Transparent Electronics.” Transparent electronics technology developed in his group at OSU was licensed to Hewlett-Packard Company who has continued advanced joint-development with his group. This technology is finding emerging, high-value applications in flat-panel display thin-film transistor backplanes. His current research interests include transparent electronics, oxide electronics, metal-insulator tunneling electronics, amorphous thin film engineering, and thin-film photovoltaics.





Sean Muir is Vice President of Device Technology for Amorphyx Inc.  Amorphyx is an innovator at the intersection of materials science and electronics for the display market. The company was founded in 2012 to commercialize advanced amorphous metal thin-film technology developed through the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry (CSMC) and licensed from Oregon State University. Amorphyx is leveraging its expertise in amorphous metals and the creation of high-quality thin films to design processes that simplify liquid crystal display (LCD) backplane manufacturing, redefining the cost of LCDs while enabling advances in flexible displays and the integration of touch functionality into the backplane.  In 2012, Sean received the PhD in Chemistry, with a focus on materials science and electronic properties, from Oregon State University.  During his final year as graduate student Sean was a fellow for the CSMC and helped to found Amorphyx.  In his role as VP of Device Technology Sean leads research efforts to improve Amorphyx’s foundational technology and transfer this technology to partner facilities.