Universal Method for the Fabrication of Detachable Ultrathin Films of Several Transition Metal Oxides
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Ultrathin films are important nanoscale structures that are used extensively in a variety of technological contexts. However, it has traditionally been difficult and costly to fabricate detachable and purely inorganic high aspect ratio films with controlled thickness and good uniformity. Here we report a versatile method to make separable purely inorganic membranes of various metal oxides such as Nb(2)O(5), TiO(2), WO(3), and Ta(2)O(5) with thicknesses ranging from 30 to 150 nm. Fluoride ions are migrated through the oxide film and upon arrival at the oxide-metal interface form a sacrificial soluble oxyfluoride layer. Fluorine also plays a role in controlling the porosity of the films. The study exposes the mechanism behind the detachment process that is largely due to the fast migration of fluoride anions relative to oxygen anions. The resulting films have a wide range of potential applications as catalysts or catalyst supports, filtration membranes, sensors, and more.
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