A method of synthesizing multilayer heterostructures including an inorganic oxide layer residing on a solid substrate is described. Exemplary embodiments include producing an inorganic oxide layer on a solid substrate by a liquid coating process under relatively mild conditions. The relatively mild conditions include temperatures below 225.degree. C. and pressures above 9.4 mb. In an exemplary embodiment, a solution of diethyl aluminum ethoxide in anhydrous diglyme is applied to a flexible solid substrate by slot-die coating at ambient atmospheric pressure, and the diglyme removed by evaporation. An AlO.sub.x layer is formed by subjecting material remaining on the solid substrate to a relatively mild oven temperature of approximately 150.degree. C. The resulting AlO.sub.x layer exhibits relatively high light transmittance and relatively low vapor transmission rates for water. An exemplary embodiment of a flexible solid substrate is polyethylene napthalate (PEN). The PEN is not substantially adversely affected by exposure to 150.degree. C.
The United States Government has rights in this invention under Contract No. DE-AC36-08GO28308 between the United States Department of Energy and the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, the Manager and Operator of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.