There is an increasing interest in sol-gel synthesis of nitrides. The ability to deposit films of these materials by dip- or spin-coating will increase the range of applications in which they are viable and is an important step toward general sol-gel processing of nitride materials.
With transition metals, the ammono based analogue of the well established alkoxy route to gels is inherently difficult to control. Due to the basicity of the system, the overwhelming tendency is of the starting materials to favour particle growth which results in a precipitate rather than a stable emulsion, unless both environment and synthetic pathway are carefully controlled. Hence reports to date of sol-gel routes to nitrides describe production of powders. We report work on a sol-gel route to titanium nitride with the ammonolysis of titanium amides controlled by temperature and chemical moderators, resulting in stable emulsions useful for dip-coating.