Photochemical solution processing of films of metastable phases for flexible devices: the beta-Bi2O3 polymorph
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Calzada-Coco, M. L.; Sirera-Bejarano, R. (Rafael); Fuentes-Cobas, L.; et al. "Photochemical solution processing of films of metastable phases for flexible devices: the beta-Bi2O3 polymorph". Scientific reports. 6 (39561), 2016,
The potential of UV-light for the photochemical synthesis and stabilization of non-equilibrium crystalline phases in thin films is demonstrated for the beta-Bi2O3 polymorph. The pure beta-Bi2O3 phase is thermodynamically stable at high temperature (450-667 degrees C), which limits its applications in devices. Here, a tailored UV-absorbing bismuth(III)-N-methyldiethanolamine complex is selected as an ideal precursor for this phase, in order to induce under UV-light the formation of a -Bi-O-Bi- continuous network in the deposited layers and the further conversion into the beta-Bi2O3 polymorph at a temperature as low as 250 degrees C. The stabilization of the beta-Bi2O3 films is confirmed by their conductivity behavior and a thorough characterization of their crystal structure. This is also supported by their remarkable photocatalytic activity. Besides, this processing method has allowed us for the first time the preparation of beta-Bi2O3 films on flexible plastic substrates, which opens new opportunities for using these materials in potential applications not available until now (e.g., flexible photocatalytic reactors, self-cleaning surfaces or wearable antimicrobial fabrics). Therefore, photochemical solution deposition (PCSD) demonstrates to be not only an efficient approach for the low temperature processing of oxide films, but also an excellent alternative for the stabilization of metastable phases.

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