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A group of researchers at the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research succeeded in the growth of thin films of vanadium dioxide (VO2) on hexagonal boron nitride (hBN). VO2 is anticipated as a future electronics material, while hBN thin film can be affixed to virtually anywhere.

Ceramic material VO2 exhibits insulator-to-metal phase transition in response to external stimuli, such as heat, light, and mechanical strain, and is expected to be applied to switches and sensors. To apply VO2 to electronic devices, it is necessary to grow VO2 on a substrate. For growth of VO2 on substrates, ceramic materials such as sapphire were used; however, VO2 on hard substrates such as ceramics was difficult to use in flexible devices and paper devices despite a recent rapid growth in its demand.

The researchers demonstrated that it was possible to grow a VO2 thin film on hBN, a multilayered material that can be affixed to any material. Using viscous polymer materials, they removed the layered structure of hBN and VO2 from the substrate and transferred it onto another material, such as glass or paper, without breaking the structure.

This group’s achievements will lead to the development of novel flexible devices that make use of properties of VO2. Findings in this study will be applied to functional oxides other than VO2. It is anticipated that the results of this study will lead to the development of novel VO2-based flexible devices, paper devices, wearable sensors capable of sensing changes in body temperature, and smart windows which can be affixed to windows of any shape.

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