Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Atomically seamless, thinnest-possible semiconductor junctions crafted by scientists

Date:
August 26, 2014
Source:
University of Washington
Summary:
Two single-layer semiconductor materials can be connected in an atomically seamless fashion known as a heterojunction, researchers say. This result could be the basis for next-generation flexible and transparent computing, better light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, and solar technologies.

As seen under an optical microscope, the heterostructures have a triangular shape. The two different monolayer semiconductors can be recognized through their different colors.
Credit: U of Washington

Scientists have developed what they believe is the thinnest-possible semiconductor, a new class of nanoscale materials made in sheets only three atoms thick.

Related Articles


The University of Washington researchers have demonstrated that two of these single-layer semiconductor materials can be connected in an atomically seamless fashion known as a heterojunction. This result could be the basis for next-generation flexible and transparent computing, better light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, and solar technologies.

"Heterojunctions are fundamental elements of electronic and photonic devices," said senior author Xiaodong Xu, a UW assistant professor of materials science and engineering and of physics. "Our experimental demonstration of such junctions between two-dimensional materials should enable new kinds of transistors, LEDs, nanolasers, and solar cells to be developed for highly integrated electronic and optical circuits within a single atomic plane."

The research was published online this week in Nature Materials.

The researchers discovered that two flat semiconductor materials can be connected edge-to-edge with crystalline perfection. They worked with two single-layer, or monolayer, materials -- molybdenum diselenide and tungsten diselenide -- that have very similar structures, which was key to creating the composite two-dimensional semiconductor.

Collaborators from the electron microscopy center at the University of Warwick in England found that all the atoms in both materials formed a single honeycomb lattice structure, without any distortions or discontinuities. This provides the strongest possible link between two single-layer materials, necessary for flexible devices. Within the same family of materials it is feasible that researchers could bond other pairs together in the same way.

The researchers created the junctions in a small furnace at the UW. First, they inserted a powder mixture of the two materials into a chamber heated to 900 degrees Celsius (1,652 F). Hydrogen gas was then passed through the chamber and the evaporated atoms from one of the materials were carried toward a cooler region of the tube and deposited as single-layer crystals in the shape of triangles.

After a while, evaporated atoms from the second material then attached to the edges of the triangle to create a seamless semiconducting heterojunction.

"This is a scalable technique," said Sanfeng Wu, a UW doctoral student in physics and one of the lead authors. "Because the materials have different properties, they evaporate and separate at different times automatically. The second material forms around the first triangle that just previously formed. That's why these lattices are so beautifully connected."

With a larger furnace, it would be possible to mass-produce sheets of these semiconductor heterostructures, the researchers said. On a small scale, it takes about five minutes to grow the crystals, with up to two hours of heating and cooling time.

"We are very excited about the new science and engineering opportunities provided by these novel structures," said senior author David Cobden, a UW professor of physics. "In the future, combinations of two-dimensional materials may be integrated together in this way to form all kinds of interesting electronic structures such as in-plane quantum wells and quantum wires, superlattices, fully functioning transistors, and even complete electronic circuits."

The researchers have already demonstrated that the junction interacts with light much more strongly than the rest of the monolayer, which is encouraging for optoelectric and photonic applications like solar cells.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Washington. The original article was written by Michelle Ma. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chunming Huang, Sanfeng Wu, Ana M. Sanchez, Jonathan J. P. Peters, Richard Beanland, Jason S. Ross, Pasqual Rivera, Wang Yao, David H. Cobden, Xiaodong Xu. Lateral heterojunctions within monolayer MoSe2–WSe2 semiconductors. Nature Materials, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/nmat4064

Cite This Page:

University of Washington. "Atomically seamless, thinnest-possible semiconductor junctions crafted by scientists." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140826205338.htm>.
University of Washington. (2014, August 26). Atomically seamless, thinnest-possible semiconductor junctions crafted by scientists. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140826205338.htm
University of Washington. "Atomically seamless, thinnest-possible semiconductor junctions crafted by scientists." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140826205338.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins