Scientists are looking for a replacement for indium — one of the most important elements in our everyday life
Literally everyone needs Indium. Indium is a metal, which is used to make aircraft portholes, astronomical mirrors, car headlights, fire alarms, diesel engines, photocells, radiopharmaceuticals and many other things. If you take a hammer to a smartphone or even if you take it apart component by component, you'll find inside a compound of Indium and Oxygen and Tin, which is what makes the transparent, electrically conductive touchscreen work properly.
Indium is increasingly in demand and increasingly expensive. But reserves will be exhausted in the next two decades. So what next? Finding a substitute for Indium Oxide alloyed with Tin (In203:Sn02), used in electronic devices, is a particularly urgent task. A substitute is needed in order to go on making the devices we have today and to create the electronics of the future.
The possible substitutes available today leave much to be desired: they aren't flexible, resilient or stable enough, nor are they environment-friendly.
So the search is on. Global gadget manufacturers are hunting for indium, and researchers at Skoltech are looking for "the right stuff": a worthy substitute for In2O3:SnO2.
The findings of their work have been published in the specialized journal Carbon*. ________________________________________
* Alexey P. Tsapenko, Anastasia E. Goldt, Eugene Shulga et al. "Highly conductive and transparent films of HAuCl4-doped single-walled carbon nanotubes for flexible applications". Carbon, 2018, Vol. 130, pp. 448-457. doi.org/10.1016/j.carbon.2018.01.016.