Synthesis of Thin Film Vanadium Oxide (VO2)


Vanadium Oxide (VO2) is a thermochromics material, capable of undergoing a reversible semiconductor-to-metal phase transition at a relatively low temperature (~70oC). This phase transition temperature can be further reduced through the addition of metal dopants. The change in the optical properties of VO2 is marked by an increased in its reflectivity, as well as change in electrical and magnetic properties. This unusual behavior in thin films of VO2, makes it a useful material, with wide-ranging potential as electrochromic devices and an excellent optical storage media.  Production of VO2 films require expensive vacuum technologies such as Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) and Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) –and the current published methods produce sol-gel precursor solutions that readily oxidize in air and lead to the formation of other, less-desirable, VO2 phases.

Description of the Invention

This project is focused on the development and optimization of a new sol-gel synthesis of thin film vanadium oxide (VO2).  This simpler deposition method produces VO2 films are not only of excellent quality and highly resistant to oxidation, but also economically efficient. In contrast to the current available process, the sol-gel precursor solutions are resistant to oxidation for months, instead of hours, allowing industry to make VO2 thin films easily and reproducibly. Scale up to industrial application methods such as spray-coating and spin coating are straightforward and have already been demonstrated.

Potential Uses

•      Solar heat control - i.e. “Smart Window”

•      Daylight control – i.e. “optical switches”

•      Glare control and fading protection in windows and skylights

•      Optical limiters –i.e. “protection from laser beam”

•      Optical medial storage

Patent Status

US Patent issued 9,376,363 & Canadian Patent issued 2,740,906



Patent Information:

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