Indium metal has played a key role in technology advances since it was first investigated by Dr. William S. Murray in 1924 in Utica, NY, and with the creation of the Indium Corporation in 1934, the two have been tied together, leading, and supporting the advancement of technologies that we all rely on today.
Indium is extracted primarily from indium-bearing zinc or tin ores and purified to various grades utilizing state-of-the-art statistical process controlled refining technologies.
Indium Corporation produces and refines indium in the USA, Korea, and China.
No other metal is as versatile as indium metal. In its various forms it is used for:
- Sealing in cryogenic applications - stays malleable and ductile below -150°C
- Soldering or fusing applications - alloys melt at temperatures ranging from 6.5°C to 310°C
- High-end device cooling - reduces operating temperatures by up to 10°C
In addition to its metallic properties, indium also exhibits valuable semiconducting properties. For instance, indium is used:
- As an absorber layer material in solar panels - to convert photons from the sun into usable electricity.
- In a variety of compound semiconductor material, such as InAs, InGaAs, and InGaN, - to enable electronics and electro-optic applications like integrated circuits, lasers, and LEDs.
Indium is also used in combination with various semiconducting oxides, where it plays its most valuable role as a transparent conductor. ITO (indium-tin oxide) is used on nearly every flat panel display and touchscreen in use today. In fact, IGZO (combining indium, gallium, and zinc oxides) is the future material of choice for forming the pixel switching transistors in next-generation displays.
Indium sputtering targets are commonly used with CuGa sputtering targets to co-deposit copper, indium, and gallium, in combination with sulfur/selenium, to form the active layer on CIS/CIGS thin film cells. Other forms of indium (such as pellets or shot) can be used to form similar active layers when utilizing evaporative methods of deposition.
Indium Metal Technical Documents
Product Data Sheets
Material Safety Data Sheets
Indium Alloy Blog Posts
In an earlier post I mentioned one of the presentations we gave at the 2013 SVC TechCon. The other presentation that our team delivered at the show (presented by Jacques Mateau) regarded another very interesting topic. The paper, High Temperature, Pb-Free, Metallic Sputtering Target Bonding…
A visitor at our booth during the 2013 SVC (Society of Vacuum Coaters) conference suggested this video. In the video, a piece of indium is rubbed against a piece of gallium. The result is the formation of a room temperature alloy (75.5%Ga/24.5%In, mp: 15.7°C). One of the fun parts of my job is…
As I discussed in my last post, the industry has found that reducing the silver content of SAC alloys helps to improve its mechanical shock performance. However, low-Ag alloys such as SAC105 are still inferior to its Sn/Pb predecessors in some important ways. The graph below shows this…
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