Although phase transitions have long been a centerpiece of condensed matter materials science studies, a number of recent efforts focus on potentially exploiting the resulting functional property changes in novel electronics and photonics as well as understanding emergent phenomena. This is quite timely, given a grand challenge in twenty-first-century physical sciences is related to enabling continued advances in information processing and storage beyond conventional CMOS scaling. In this brief review, we discuss synthesis of strongly correlated oxides, mechanisms of metal-insulator transitions, and exploratory electron devices that are being studied. Particular emphasis is placed on vanadium dioxide, which undergoes a sharp metal-insulator transition near room temperature at ultrafast timescales. The article begins with an introduction to metal-insulator transition in oxides, followed by a brief discussion on the mechanisms leading to the phase transition. The role of materials synthesis in influencing functional properties is discussed briefly. Recent efforts on realizing novel devices such as field effect switches, optical detectors, nonlinear circuit components, and solid-state sensors are reviewed. The article concludes with a brief discussion on future research directions that may be worth consideration.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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