A breakthrough in how to measure the electronic structures of stacked 2D semiconductors could pave the way for highly efficient nano-circuitry—and smaller, flexible, more wearable gadgets.
The 2D materials are atomically thin, highly conductive, and extremely strong. Multiple stacked layers of the materials—known as heterostructures—create highly efficient optoelectronic devices with ultrafast electrical charge, which can be used in nano-circuits, and are stronger than materials used in traditional circuits.
“It is extremely exciting to be able to see, for the first time, how interactions between atomically thin layers change their electronic structure.”
Scientists have used various heterostructures to create different 2D materials—and stacking different combinations of 2D materials creates new materials with new properties.
The new method measures the electronic properties of each layer in a stack, allowing researchers to establish the optimal structure for the fastest, most efficient transfer of electrical energy.
“It is extremely exciting to be able to see, for the first time, how interactions between atomically thin layers change their electronic structure,” says Neil Wilson, who helped to develop the method. Wilson is from the physics department at the University of Warwick.
The technique uses the photoelectric effect to directly measure the momentum of electrons within each layer and shows how this changes when the layers are combined.
The ability to understand and quantify how 2D material heterostructures work—and to create optimal semiconductor structures—paves the way for better nano-circuits.
Wilson formulated the technique in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Warwick, University of Cambridge, University of Washington, and the Elettra Light Source in Italy.
The team reported their findings in Science Advances.
Source: University of Warwick