Lanthanum Nitride and Its Applications

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Almost everyone in the world utilizes the rare earth elements every day – in the car they drive (lanthanum oxide is used to produce catalytic converters that reduce automobile exhaust emissions), watching their favorite TV show or news program on the internet (the red and green colors of television screens and DVDs are produced by lanthanum ions), making sure they can hear and see their loved ones over the phone or through Skype, using their computer, or even in the food they eat (lanthanum is an ingredient in some ferroelectric and optical materials). Despite the fact that the prevailing strategies for heat and electric power production continue to depend heavily on fossil and fission fuels, which have a negative impact on our environment and living conditions, it is important to develop alternative energy sources.

One of the most promising alternatives is spectral conversion, which allows efficient upconversion and downconversion of solar radiation in wide spectra. This technology is being embraced by many manufacturers as it can significantly increase the efficiency of photovoltaic cells.

Another possible application is the use of lanthanum nitride as an additive in glass melts. It increases the glass transition temperature and improves the density, refractive index and hardness of the resulting products.

Recently, researchers have developed a technique to synthesize lanthanum and cerium nitride nanoporous foams by the self-propagating combustion reaction of dehydrated forms of their complexes with bis(tetrazolato)amine (BTA2-). This approach allows for easy preparation of high purity and nanostuctured metal nitride powders for applications such as coatings or catalysis.