Science News
from research organizations

Proper breeding ground for germanene

Date:
June 22, 2016
Source:
University of Twente
Summary:
Germanene is a one atom thick sheet of germanium, in a honeycomb structure. It has clear similarities with graphene, the material that induced massive research activity worldwide, especially after 2010's Nobel Prize. A major difference between graphene and germanene is the 'band gap', a property well-known in semiconductor electronics: thanks to this 'jump' of energy levels that electrons are allowed to have, it is possible to control, switch and amplify currents. Graphene had a very small band gap that can only be measured at very low temperatures, germanene shows a band gap that is significantly larger. Previous attempts to grow germanene, however, show that these attractive properties seem to vanish when it is grown on a metal surface: a good conductor of current. To prevent this, the scientists chose the semiconductor MoS2 as the substrate material.
Share:
FULL STORY

Germanene honeycumb on MoS2.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Twente

Germanene is a one atom thick sheet of germanium, in a honeycomb structure. It has clear similarities with graphene, the material that induced massive research activity worldwide, especially after 2010's Nobel Prize. A major difference between graphene and germanene is the 'band gap', a property well-known in semiconductor electronics: thanks to this 'jump' of energy levels that electrons are allowed to have, it is possible to control, switch and amplify currents. Graphene had a very small band gap that can only be measured at very low temperatures, germanene shows a band gap that is significantly larger. Previous attempts to grow germanene, however, show that these attractive properties seem to vanish when it is grown on a metal surface: a good conductor of current. To prevent this, the UT scientists chose the semiconductor MoS2 as the substrate material.

Islands

Under ultra-high vacuum conditions, germanene indeed grows on the semiconductor. At first, the scientists observed islands at the locations where MoS2 had crystal defects, after that the germanene is spreading out covering a larger surface. An exciting question is, if the desired properties remain intact. First measurements show that the typical 2D properties and band gap are present, further low temperature measurements are needed to confirm germanene operates in the desired way: the inner part would work as an insulator, while conducting channels are formed at the edges.

Sandwich

The other UT scientists did quantum mechanical calculations on the molybdenum-disulfide combination. They, for example, looked at the direction of growth, to be able to optimize the process. The theoretical group went one step further, by not only investigating the bilayer of molybdenum-disulfide, but als covering the germane with molybdeendisulfide. This prevents germanene from rapid oxidation. Calculations show that the sandwich construction has even better performance when it comes to the band gap.

Both publications show dat germanene, grown on molybdenum-disulfide is an important first step towards new electronic devices or unsuspected combinations with conventional devices. 'Spintronics', based on the spin movement of electrons, seems to be an attractive application area for germanene. Electrons with spin up and electrons with spin down have separate conducting channels on the edges of germanene. Harold Zandvliet recently received a grant for further research on this promising effect.


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Twente. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal References:

  1. L. Zhang, P. Bampoulis, A. N. Rudenko, Q. Yao, A. van Houselt, B. Poelsema, M. I. Katsnelson, H. J. W. Zandvliet. Structural and Electronic Properties of Germanene onMoS2. Physical Review Letters, 2016; 116 (25) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.256804
  2. Taher Amlaki, Menno Bokdam, Paul J. Kelly. Z2Invariance of Germanene onMoS2from First Principles. Physical Review Letters, 2016; 116 (25) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.256805

Cite This Page:

University of Twente. "Proper breeding ground for germanene." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 June 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160622104658.htm>.
University of Twente. (2016, June 22). Proper breeding ground for germanene. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160622104658.htm
University of Twente. "Proper breeding ground for germanene." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160622104658.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

RELATED STORIES