MRS Bulletin

Technical Feature

Technical Feature

Combinatorial Synthesis and Evaluation of Functional Inorganic Materials Using Thin-Film Techniques

Ichiro Takeuchi, Robert Bruce van Dover and Hideomi Koinuma


Novel phases of functional inorganic chemical systems can be efficiently explored using high-throughput thin-film fabrication techniques coupled with rapid characterization schemes. High-throughput investigation of thin-film materials has already led to the discovery of new dielectric and magnetic materials. In this article, we review various high-throughput thin-film synthesis/evaluation techniques and discuss examples of exciting discoveries and new applications of combinatorial techniques.


  • advanced dielectrics;
  • combinatorial methods;
  • composition spreads;
  • concurrent x-ray diffractometer;
  • thin films;
  • laser molecular-beam epitaxy;
  • scanning evanescent microwave probe;
  • transparent magnetic materials.

Ichiro Takeuchi is an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Center for Superconductivity Research at the University of Maryland. His research interests include novel multilayer thin-film devices, scanning probe microscopes, and the development and application of combinatorial methodology for electronic thin-film materials. He received his BS degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1987 and his PhD degree in physics from the University of Maryland in 1996. He was a postdoctoral research fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory from 1996 to 1999. He received the Office of Naval Research's Young Investigator Award in 2000 and the National Science Foundation's CAREER Award in 2001.

Takeuchi can be reached by e-mail at

Robert Bruce van Dover is a distinguished member of the technical staff at Agere Systems. His research on superconducting, magnetic, electronic, and optical materials has centered on the intersection of materials synthesis, materials characterization device design and device characterization. He received a BS degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University and a PhD degree in applied physics from Stanford University (1980) He is a fellow of the American Physical Society a senior member of the IEEE, and has served as the secretary-treasurer of the American Physical Society Topical Group on Magnetism and its Applications since its founding in 1996.

Van Dover can be reached by e-mail at

Hideomi Koinuma is a professor in the Frontier Collaborative Research Center and the Materials and Structures Laboratory within the Tokyo Institute of Technology. His interest in materials research began with polymer synthesis and characterization at the University of Tokyo, where he received his PhD degree in 1970. He returned to Tokyo after a two-year postdoctoral research position in chemical kinetics at Kansas University and then shifted his interests to amorphous silicon and other thin-film electronic materials. His current research is focused on combinatorial nanotechnology for functional oxides. He founded the International Workshop on Oxide Electronics in 1995 and the Japan–U.S. workshop on Combinatorial Materials Science and Technology in 2000.

Koinuma can be reached by e-mail at