Thin films are exactly what the name suggests and are growing in popularity for new technologies. This is because thin films can exhibit some extraordinary properties that are found in some larger materials, but with considerably less mass. If less mass is required than the material cost for the thin film can be much less than the larger material. Making these films with those properties is not necessarily easy though, but researchers at North Carolina State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology have made an important discovery to that end.
Nickel ferrite (NFO) ceramic thin films are promising for use in microwave technologies and memory devices thanks to their magnetic properties. What the researchers found is a way to make large samples of textured NFO thin film. Textured means it has an aligned crystalline structure, which is necessary for maximizing it's a materials magnetic properties. The researchers achieved this by creating an NFO solution that is deposited on a silicon wafer coated in platinum. The wafer is spun to uniformly spread the solution across its surface, and then heated to evaporate the solution, leaving a thin film behind.
This method allows for samples of the thin film in excess of 10 centimeters by 10 cm to be produced, which is larger than other techniques for creating textured NFO thin films. Perhaps this or a similar technique will bring this thin film to market.