Scientists at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) and the Institute of Experimental Physics have developed a new layered structure using 2D materials that demonstrates a novel transfer of energy and charge. These materials, known as transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), consist of atomically thin layers sandwiched together. The unique properties of TMDs, such as their tunable electronic properties at the atomic level, make them promising for use in technologies like solar cells and optoelectronic devices.
TMDs are composed of a transition metal sandwiched between two layers of chalcogens. Each layer is only one atom thick, which gives them their designation as 2D materials. At this scale, interesting properties emerge. For example, graphene, the 2D form of graphite, is incredibly strong at the atomic level and has excellent thermal and electrical conductivity. 2D materials can exhibit various superpowers when combined, such as protecting materials, controlling energy transfer, and absorbing specific light frequencies.
To study and build these heterostructures, the researchers at CFN have developed a first-of-its-kind experimental tool called the Quantum Material Press (QPress). The QPress consists of three modules: an exfoliator, a cataloger, and a stacker. The exfoliator extracts thin layers from larger source crystals with precision, the cataloger uses machine learning to identify and catalog the flakes of interest, and the stacker arranges the materials to create the desired heterostructure.
The fabrication process is conducted in an inert gas environment within a controlled climate to maintain sample quality. The samples are stored in a vacuum within the QPress cluster, along with additional tools for processes like electron beam evaporation and annealing.
Understanding the unique material properties of the newly created layered structure could lead to advancements in various technologies, such as smaller electronic components and advanced light detectors. The research published in Nano Letters provides valuable insights into the potential of 2D materials and their applications.
– “Creating Novel Materials Through Novel Combinations” – Brookhaven National Laboratory: https://www.bnl.gov/newsroom/news.php?a=215181