Morphology, mechanical stability, and protective properties of ultrathin gallium oxide coatings
Journal article, 2015
Ultrathin gallium oxide layers with a thickness of 2.8 ± 0.2 nm were transferred from the surface of liquid gallium onto solid substrates, including conjugated polymer poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT). The gallium oxide exhibits high mechanical stability, withstanding normal pressures of up to 1 GPa in contact mode scanning force microscopy imaging. Moreover, it lowers the rate of photodegradation of P3HT by 4 orders of magnitude, as compared to uncovered P3HT. This allows us to estimate the upper limits for oxygen and water vapor transmission rates of 0.08 cm3 m-2 day-1 and 0.06 mg m-2 day-1, respectively. Hence, similar to other highly functional coatings such as graphene, ultrathin gallium oxide layers can be regarded as promising candidates for protective layers in flexible organic (opto-)electronics and photovoltaics because they offer permeation barrier functionalities in conjunction with high optical transparency.