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Aluminium nitride is a ceramic material which is widely used in microelectronics. It is known for its high thermal conductivity and electrical insulation properties. Moreover, it is also resistant to attacks by most molten metals such as copper, lithium, and aluminum.
AlN is mainly available in hexagonal wurtzite and metastable cubic zincblende crystal structures. Its crystalline structure is a unit cell system with unit cell parameters of a = 3.11 A and c = 4.98 A,7 and is thermodynamically stable.
It has good corrosion resistance to molten al liquid and excellent electrical insulation and dielectric properties. However, it has poor high-temperature oxidation resistance. It can be easily absorbed in the atmosphere and hydrolyzed to generate heat and nitrogen.
Various nitriding processes can be used to prepare aluminium nitride powder, such as direct nitriding method, carbothermal reduction method, high-energy ball milling method, in-situ self-reaction synthesis method, plasma chemical synthesis method and chemical vapor precipitation method.
Direct Nitriding Method
The direct nitriding process involves directly mixing aluminum powder with nitrogen in a high-temperature nitrogen atmosphere. It is a simple process, low cost and suitable for industrial mass production.
Carbothermal Reduction Method
The carbothermal reduction process mainly uses the reaction of aluminum oxide with gaseous nitrogen or ammonia to prepare aluminium nitride. The process can be achieved with the use of sintering aids, such as Y2O3 or CaO, and hot pressing.
Compared with alumina, the AlN is highly thermally conductive at elevated temperature and can replace BeO in some applications. The nitriding process can be tailored to produce different conductivity levels with the addition of oxygen.