Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > News > Rare supply: the trace minerals powering our gadgets

September 8th, 2010

Rare supply: the trace minerals powering our gadgets

Abstract:
Technological innovation has brought us wonderful new tools for modern life, but some experts believe supply is lagging behind demand for the rare minerals that make them possible.

Indium is a trace element that has been in commercial use only in the last 20 years. Professor Michael Cortie, Director of the Institute for Nanoscale Technology at the University of Technology Sydney says demand for indium has been driven by the rapid up-take of flat-screen monitors and mobile phones that use LCD screens.

In flat-panel devices such as LCDs and touch-screen mobiles, indium tin oxide (ITO) is used as a thin coat around the screen. This thin layer of ITO conducts electricity away from the front panel - a technical innovation necessary for the trend towards touch-screen monitors.

"The problem is, unfortunately, indium is relatively scarce in the crust and wherever it does occur, it occurs in groups and so to my knowledge, it is never mined directly for its own sake - it's always a byproduct of something else.

"If indium was a byproduct of a mine producing copper or zinc for example, when that mine closes down because of falling copper or zinc prices, it is no longer viable to mine indium for its own sake," Cortie says.

The U.S. Geological Survey 2010 notes that 600 tonnes of indium was refined in 2009, but says no indicators are available to say how much may be left in reserves around the world.

Professor Chennupati Jagadish, Head of Semiconductor Optoelectronics and Nanotechnology at the Australian National says material scientists are looking at aluminium dope zinc oxide as an alternative to indium.

"Aluminum has got really high abundance and zinc has got really high abundance, so from that point, it's not really an issue," he says.

Source:
abc.net.au

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Cool Calculations for Cold Atoms: New theory of universal three-body encounters September 2nd, 2014

Accounting for Biological Aggregation in Heating and Imaging of Magnetic Nanoparticles September 2nd, 2014

Engineers develop new sensor to detect tiny individual nanoparticles September 2nd, 2014

Future solar panels September 2nd, 2014

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

Copper shines as flexible conductor August 29th, 2014

LEDs made from ‘wonder material’ perovskite: Colourful LEDs made from a material known as perovskite could lead to LED displays which are both cheaper and easier to manufacture in future August 5th, 2014

Martini Tech Inc. becomes the exclusive distributor for Yoshioka Seiko Co. porous chucks for Europe and North America July 20th, 2014

'Nano-pixels' promise thin, flexible, high resolution displays July 9th, 2014

Announcements

New synthesis method may shape future of nanostructures, clean energy: Findings advance efficient solar spliting of water into hydrogen fuel September 2nd, 2014

Accounting for Biological Aggregation in Heating and Imaging of Magnetic Nanoparticles September 2nd, 2014

Engineers develop new sensor to detect tiny individual nanoparticles September 2nd, 2014

Future solar panels September 2nd, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE