Indium Posts “Elements of Indium” Installment
At Indium Corporation, we believe that materials science changes the world. In recognition of the notable material behind our name, we will release monthly installments of the Elements of Indium Series—an educational program to raise awareness of the unique applications, abundance, and interesting properties of the 49th element.
Elements of Indium by Indium Corporation: Compounds
Perhaps the most widely recognized compound of indium is indium-tin oxide (ITO). This ubiquitous compound is a transparent conductive oxide used in almost all flat panel displays and touchscreen devices. While ITO is the most recognized of indium’s compounds, there are several others that provide solutions for a number of applications.
Indium trichloride, or IndiTri®, is a versatile compound needed by a number of industries in a wide range of applications, including LEDs, lighting, and semiconductor component manufacturing. IndiTri® is commonly used as a starting compound for the synthesis of other inorganic and organic indium compounds, such as tri-methyl indium (TMI), the most widely used metal-organic precursor for indium. IndiTri® is also used as an additive to alkaline batteries to reduce outgassing and improve operational efficiency of the battery when under electrical load.
The first step to the well-known ITO, indium oxide, or IndiOx®, is a compound that can be doped with tin oxide to form ITO sputtering targets for thin-film coating. On its own, IndiOx® can be used to suppress gas formation in alkaline batteries, as a color additive for glass, and as an anti-arcing additive in high-current electrical switches and contacts.
For electroplating applications, indium sulfate, or IndiSul®, is commonly used as a compound in chemical synthesis and proprietary plating chemistries to enable electroplating of indium layers onto a variety of substrates. It can also be used as a hardening agent in gold plating baths.