Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

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

Nanotech could rid cattle of ticks, with less collateral damage September 1st, 2015

Scientists 'squeeze' light one particle at a time: A team of scientists have measured a bizarre effect in quantum physics, in which individual particles of light are said to have been 'squeezed' -- an achievement which at least one textbook had written off as hopeless September 1st, 2015

Using ultrathin sheets to discover new class of wrapped shapes: UMass Amherst materials researchers describe a new regime of wrapped shapes August 31st, 2015

New material science research may advance tech tools August 31st, 2015

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

'Quantum dot' technology may help light the future August 19th, 2015

High-precision control of nanoparticles for digital applications August 19th, 2015

Flexible, biodegradable device can generate power from touch (video) August 12th, 2015

New research may enhance display & LED lighting technology: Large-area integration of quantum dots and photonic crystals produce brighter and more efficient light August 9th, 2015

Announcements

Nanotech could rid cattle of ticks, with less collateral damage September 1st, 2015

Scientists 'squeeze' light one particle at a time: A team of scientists have measured a bizarre effect in quantum physics, in which individual particles of light are said to have been 'squeezed' -- an achievement which at least one textbook had written off as hopeless September 1st, 2015

An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets August 31st, 2015

New material science research may advance tech tools August 31st, 2015

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic