Nav: Home

Ultra-flat circuits will have unique properties

July 25, 2016

HOUSTON - (July 25, 2016) - The old rules don't necessarily apply when building electronic components out of two-dimensional materials, according to scientists at Rice University.

The Rice lab of theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson analyzed hybrids that put 2-D materials like graphene and boron nitride side by side to see what happens at the border. They found that the electronic characteristics of such "co-planar" hybrids differ from bulkier components.

Their results appear this month in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters.

Shrinking electronics means shrinking their components. Academic labs and industries are studying how materials like graphene may enable the ultimate in thin devices by building all the necessary circuits into an atom-thick layer.

"Our work is important because semiconductor junctions are a big field," Yakobson said. "There are books with iconic models of electronic behavior that are extremely well-developed and have become the established pillars of industry.

"But these are all for bulk-to-bulk interfaces between three-dimensional metals," he said. "Now that people are actively working to make two-dimensional devices, especially with co-planar electronics, we realized that the rules have to be reconsidered. Many of the established models utilized in industry just don't apply."

The researchers led by Rice graduate student Henry Yu built computer simulations that analyze charge transfer between atom-thick materials.

"It was a logical step to test our theory on both metals and semiconductors, which have very different electronic properties," Yu said. "This makes graphene, which is a metal -- or a semimetal, to be precise -- molybdenum disulfide and boron nitride, which are semiconductors, or even their hybrids ideal systems to study.

"In fact, these materials have been widely fabricated and used in the community for almost a decade, which makes analysis of them more appreciable in the field. Furthermore, both hybrids of graphene-molybdenum disulfide and graphene-boron nitride have been successfully synthesized recently, which means our study has practical meaning and can be tested in the lab now," he said.

Yakobson said 3-D materials have a narrow region for charge transfer at the positive and negative (or p/n) junction. But the researchers found that 2-D interfaces created "a highly nonlocalized charge transfer" -- and an electric field along with it -- that greatly increased the junction size. That could give them an advantage in photovoltaic applications like solar cells, the researchers said.

The lab built a simulation of a hybrid of graphene and molybdenum disulfide and also considered graphene-boron nitride and graphene in which half was doped to create a p/n junction. Their calculations predicted the presence of an electric field should make 2-D Schottky (one-way) devices like transistors and diodes more tunable based on the size of the device itself.

How the atoms line up with each other is also important, Yakobson said. Graphene and boron nitride both feature hexagonal lattices, so they mesh perfectly. But molybdenum disulfide, another promising material, isn't exactly flat, though it's still considered 2-D.

"If the atomic structures don't match, you get dangling bonds or defects along the borderline," he said. "The structure has consequences for electronic behavior, especially for what is called Fermi level pinning."

Pinning can degrade electrical performance by creating an energy barrier at the interface, Yakobson explained. "But your Schottky barrier (in which current moves in only one direction) doesn't change as expected. This is a well-known phenomenon for semiconductors; it's just that in two dimensions, it's different, and in this case may favor 2-D over 3-D systems."

Yakobson said the principles put forth by the new paper will apply to patterned hybrids of two or more 2-D patches. "You can make something special, but the basic effects are always at the interfaces. If you want to have many transistors in the same plane, it's fine, but you still have to consider effects at the junctions.

"There's no reason we can't build 2-D rectifiers, transistors or memory elements," he said. "They'll be the same as we use routinely in devices now. But unless we develop a proper fundamental knowledge of the physics, they may fail to do what we design or plan."
-end-
Rice postdoctoral research associate Alex Kutana is a co-author of the paper. Yakobson is the Karl F. Hasselmann Professor of Materials Science and NanoEngineering and a professor of chemistry.

The Office of Naval Research supported the research.

David Ruth
713-348-6327
david@rice.edu

Mike Williams
713-348-6728
mikewilliams@rice.edu

Read the abstract at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b01822

This news release can be found online at http://news.rice.edu/2016/07/25/ultra-flat-circuits-will-have-unique-properties/

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews

Related materials:

Yakobson Research Group: http://biygroup.blogs.rice.edu

George R. Brown School of Engineering: http://engr.rice.edu

Image for download:

http://news.rice.edu/files/2016/07/0725_CARRIER-1-web-1ede6hv.jpg

Hybrids of two-dimensional materials like the graphene-molybdenum disulfide illustrated here have electronic properties that don't follow the same rules as their 3-D cousins, according to Rice University researchers. The limited direct contact between the two materials creates an electric field that greatly increases the size of the p/n junction. (Credit: Henry Yu/Rice University)

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,910 undergraduates and 2,809 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for best quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. To read "What they're saying about Rice," go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview.

Rice University

Related Graphene Articles:

New chemical method could revolutionize graphene
University of Illinois at Chicago scientists have discovered a new chemical method that enables graphene to be incorporated into a wide range of applications while maintaining its ultra-fast electronics.
Searching beyond graphene for new wonder materials
Graphene, the two-dimensional, ultra lightweight and super-strong carbon film, has been hailed as a wonder material since its discovery in 2004.
New method of characterizing graphene
Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene's properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials.
Chemically tailored graphene
Graphene is considered as one of the most promising new materials.
Beyond graphene: Advances make reduced graphene oxide electronics feasible
Researchers have developed a technique for converting positively charged (p-type) reduced graphene oxide (rGO) into negatively charged (n-type) rGO, creating a layered material that can be used to develop rGO-based transistors for use in electronic devices.
The Graphene 2017 Conference connects Barcelona with the international graphene-based industry
This prestigious Conference to be held at the Barcelona International Convention Centre (March 28-31) aims to bring together academia and industry to integrate new graphene technologies into practical applications.
Graphene from soybeans
A breakthrough by CSIRO-led scientists has made the world's strongest material more commercially viable, thanks to the humble soybean.
First use of graphene to detect cancer cells
By interfacing brain cells onto graphene, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have shown they can differentiate a single hyperactive cancerous cell from a normal cell, pointing the way to developing a simple, noninvasive tool for early cancer diagnosis.
Development of graphene microwave photodetector
DGIST developed cryogenic microwave photodetector which is able to detect 100,000 times smaller light energy compared to the existing photedetectors.
Adding hydrogen to graphene
IBS researchers report a fundamental study of how graphene is hydrogenated.

Related Graphene Reading:

Graphene: The Superstrong, Superthin, and Superversatile Material That Will Revolutionize the World
by Les Johnson (Author), Joseph E. Meany (Author)

The Chemistry Book: From Gunpowder to Graphene, 250 Milestones in the History of Chemistry (Sterling Milestones)
by Derek B Lowe (Author)

Graphene: A New Paradigm in Condensed Matter and Device Physics
by E. L. Wolf (Author)

Graphene: Fundamentals and emergent applications
by Jamie H. Warner (Author), Franziska Schaffel (Author), Mark Rummeli (Author), Alicja Bachmatiuk (Author)

Graphene: Fundamentals, Devices, and Applications
by Serhii Shafraniuk (Author)

Graphene: An Introduction to the Fundamentals and Industrial Applications (Advanced Material Series)
by Madhuri Sharon (Editor), Maheshwar Sharon (Editor), Ashutosh Tiwari (Editor), Hisanori Shinohara (Editor)

Graphene: Carbon in Two Dimensions
by Mikhail I. Katsnelson (Author)

The Graphene Revolution: The weird science of the ultra-thin (Hot Science)
by Icon Books Ltd

Graphene: Synthesis, Properties, and Phenomena
by C. N. R. Rao (Editor), Ajay K. Sood (Editor)

Graphene: Energy Storage and Conversion Applications (Electrochemical Energy Storage and Conversion)
by Zhaoping Liu (Author), Xufeng Zhou (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Why We Hate
From bullying to hate crimes, cruelty is all around us. So what makes us hate? And is it learned or innate? This hour, TED speakers explore the causes and consequences of hate — and how we can fight it. Guests include reformed white nationalist Christian Picciolini, CNN commentator Sally Kohn, podcast host Dylan Marron, and writer Anand Giridharadas.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#482 Body Builders
This week we explore how science and technology can help us walk when we've lost our legs, see when we've gone blind, explore unfriendly environments, and maybe even make our bodies better, stronger, and faster than ever before. We speak to Adam Piore, author of the book "The Body Builders: Inside the Science of the Engineered Human", about the increasingly amazing ways bioengineering is being used to reverse engineer, rebuild, and augment human beings. And we speak with Ken Thomas, spacesuit engineer and author of the book "The Journey to Moonwalking: The People That Enabled Footprints on the Moon" about...