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

Display technology/LEDs/SS Lighting/OLEDs

Graphene leans on glass to advance electronics: Scientists' use of common glass to optimize graphene's electronic properties could improve technologies from flat screens to solar cells February 12th, 2016

A metal that behaves like water: Researchers describe new behaviors of graphene February 12th, 2016

News and information

'Lasers rewired': Scientists find a new way to make nanowire lasers: Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley scientists adapt next-gen solar cell materials for a different purpose February 12th, 2016

Breaking cell barriers with retractable protein nanoneedles: Adapting a bacterial structure, Wyss Institute researchers develop protein actuators that can mechanically puncture cells February 12th, 2016

Replacement of Toxic Antibacterial Agents Possible by Biocompatible Polymeric Nanocomposites February 12th, 2016

Properties of Polymeric Nanofibers Optimized to Treat Damaged Body Tissues February 12th, 2016

Announcements

Graphene leans on glass to advance electronics: Scientists' use of common glass to optimize graphene's electronic properties could improve technologies from flat screens to solar cells February 12th, 2016

Breaking cell barriers with retractable protein nanoneedles: Adapting a bacterial structure, Wyss Institute researchers develop protein actuators that can mechanically puncture cells February 12th, 2016

Replacement of Toxic Antibacterial Agents Possible by Biocompatible Polymeric Nanocomposites February 12th, 2016

Properties of Polymeric Nanofibers Optimized to Treat Damaged Body Tissues February 12th, 2016

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