A combinatorial approach to materials discovery

Science. 1995 Jun 23;268(5218):1738-40. doi: 10.1126/science.268.5218.1738.


A method that combines thin film deposition and physical masking techniques has been used for the parallel synthesis of spatially addressable libraries of solid-state materials. Arrays containing different combinations, stoichiometries, and deposition sequences of BaCO(3), Bi(2)O(3), CaO, CuO, PbO, SrCO(3), and Y(2)O(3) were generated with a series of binary masks. The arrays were sintered and BiSrCaCuO and YBaCuO superconducting films were identified. Samples as small as 200 micrometers by 200 micrometers in size were generated, corresponding to library densities of 10,000 sites per square inch. The ability to generate and screen combinatorial libraries of solid-state compounds, when coupled with theory and empirical observations, may significantly increase the rate at which novel electronic, magnetic, and optical materials are discovered and theoretical predictions tested.