What is it about?

We found that depositing Mo and Al together spontaneously forms nano-sized fins. Once the Al is dissolved out, these make great polarizers with performance similar to commercial products. They have the added advantageous that Mo is heat tolerant.

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Why is it important?

The structures form easily (simply deposit Al and Mo), are strongly aligned (which makes them good polarizers), can form closer to vertical deposition than similar techniques (increases yield), and are more heat-tolerant than similar commercial products.


This was a fantastic serendipitous discovery by PhD student Matt Tai. The sample did not spin as intended during deposition, and instead of the expected shiny film, a black band was observed. Electron microscopy showed little structures that lined up nicely, which we knew would make good polarizers. We had quite a long debate about what to call these!

Matthew Arnold
University of Technology Sydney

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Spontaneous growth of polarizing refractory metal ‘nano-fins’, Nanotechnology, January 2018, Institute of Physics Publishing,
DOI: 10.1088/1361-6528/aaa639.
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