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The combinatorial approach was originally developed by the pharmaceutical companies for drug discovery and later adapted to materials science to help discover new materials with novel properties. Using the combinatorial approach ‘libraries’ of materials are deposited on a substrate, where one side of the substrate has ‘pure’ material A, the other side has ‘pure’ material B, and throughout the library there’s a variation in compositions of AxBy, as well as in thicknesses and morphologies. 


The database consists of two types of libraries: materials libraries, and device libraries. materials libraries consist of a continuous compositional spread of 169 binary, ternary or quaternary materials, where each material is characterized for its optical and electronic properties. 


The device libraries consist of several layers including a transparent conductive oxide, an electron conducting layer, an absorbing layer, and back contacts. Often multiple layers of these libraries are made of continuous compositional spreads increasing the complexity of the system. In these libraries, the physical properties of the different layers are characterized as well as the electronic properties of the devices. These libraries are also divided into 169 different devices using back contacts (fig 2).


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