Mitsui Mining & Smelting has filed a patent for a sputtering target material used in the production of thin films. The material consists of indium, zinc, and an additive element (tantalum, strontium, or niobium) with specific atomic ratios. The sputtering target material has a relative density of 95% or more. GlobalData’s report on Mitsui Mining & Smelting gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Mitsui Mining & Smelting, Hydrogen storage alloys was a key innovation area identified from patents. Mitsui Mining & Smelting's grant share as of September 2023 was 30%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Sputtering target material with specific composition and density

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co Ltd

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230307549A1) describes a sputtering target material that is used in the production of oxide semiconductors and thin-film transistors. The sputtering target material consists of an oxide containing elemental indium (In), elemental zinc (Zn), and an additive element (X). The additive element can be tantalum (Ta), strontium (Sr), or niobium (Nb). The atomic ratios between the elements must satisfy specific formulae outlined in the patent.

The sputtering target material must have a relative density of 95% or more. Additionally, it can contain both an In2O3 phase and a Zn3In2O6 phase. The additive element (X) is present in both phases. The In2O3 phase must have a crystal grain size between 0.1 µm and 3.0 µm, while the Zn3In2O6 phase must have a crystal grain size between 0.1 µm and 3.9 µm.

The patent also mentions that the sputtering target material must satisfy an additional formula (4), which relates to the ratio of indium (In) to the sum of the additive element (X) and indium (In). The sputtering target material should have a standard deviation of Vickers hardness of 50 or less.

Furthermore, the patent describes the use of the sputtering target material to produce oxide semiconductors and thin-film transistors. The oxide semiconductor and thin-film transistor both consist of the same oxide material as the sputtering target material, with the same atomic ratios between the elements. The thin-film transistor must have a field-effect mobility of 45 cm2/Vs or more, and it can have an amorphous structure. It is also mentioned that the thin-film transistor can exhibit a threshold voltage between -2 V and 3 V.

Overall, this patent describes a specific sputtering target material and its use in the production of oxide semiconductors and thin-film transistors. The material composition and specific ratios between the elements are crucial for achieving the desired properties and performance of these electronic devices.

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GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies