High-throughput Experimental Capabilities for LightMAT Alloys

National Laboratory: 
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Characterization Class: 
Processing/Manufacturing Class: 
Fabrication and synthesis

High-throughput experimental (HTE) capabilities include combinatorial synthesis, spatially resolved characterization, and semi-automated data analysis. Combinatorial synthesis features depositions of multi-element thin films with intentional and well-controlled composition, temperature, and other gradients using sputtering and other physical vapor deposition techniques. The spatially resolved characterization techniques include chemical composition (x-ray fluorescence and Rutherford backscattering spectrometry), crystallographic structure (x-ray diffraction; Raman), microstructure (scanning electron and atomic force microscopy), surface corrosion properties (photoemission and Kelvin probe spectroscopy), mechanical testing (hardness), optical properties (ultraviolet-visible-infrared spectroscopy, photoluminescence), electrical transport (electrical conductivity, Seebeck coefficient) —all as a function of position on the thin film and of the graded composition or temperature. Data analysis tools include custom-written processing and visualization routines for user-assisted data analysis. Follow-up bulk experiments to the high-throughput thin film composition/temperature screening also are possible.

Capability Bounds: 

Typically limited to 2 × 2-in. standard lateral sample size, but up to 3–4 inches in diameter also is possible.

Unique Aspects: 

The high-throughput combinatorial screening of chemical compositions may identify new LightMat alloys with desired structural, mechanical, and corrosion-resistance properties, particularly for chemically complex materials (three and more elements).


Certain reactive (e.g., Li and Ca) or expensive (e.g., Au or Pt) metals may not be available.

Single Point of Contact: 

Name: Andriy Zakutayev
Email: andriy.zakutayev@nrel.gov
Phone: 303-384-6467

  1. Same capability, different functionality: A. Zakutayev et al MRS Communications 1, 23 (2011)
  2. Same functionality, different (but similar) capability: C. H. Olk, D. B. Haddad, Appl. Phys. A 88, 249 (2007)
Supporting Document(s):