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Breakthrough in the performance of 2D semiconductors

Posted September 1, 2015

Over the past ten years, the development of the so-called 2D semiconductors has evolved rapidly. 2D semiconductors are used in prototype electronic devices and the need for faster computers and more energy efficient electrical components make the development of the flexible and optically transparent 2D semiconductors an important field of research.


The 2D materials where all atoms are part of the surface are by their nature extremely sensitive to their environment. Their performance often falls far short of theoretical limits due to contamination and trapped electrical charges in the surrounding insulating layers. Thus, it is a challenge to construct an electrical component containing a high performance 2D semiconductor.

Great improvements, is encapsulated with insulating hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) and contacted with highly conductive graphene. They built a structure where the active material, semiconducting molybdenum disulphide, MoSResearchers from DTU Nanotech and Columbia University have made a new material platform which is finally able to fully use the potential of the 2D semiconductors. The team managed to stack various 2D materials on each other in an unprecedentedly clean manner, by avoiding direct contact with any chemicals.

It is more than doubled at room temperature and is up to 5-50 times higher when cooled down, compared to previous observations, thereby finally approaching the theoretical limit.  It is dramatically improved with this new platform. With the new platform, the electrical performance of MoSMeasurements show that the performance of the MoS.


The combination of the insulating hBN and the conductive graphene as well as the way of stacking the material layers are considered to be a new “universal remedy” in the study and applications of 2D semiconductors.

The universal solution“These findings provide a demonstration of how to study all 2D materials,” says James Hone, leader of this new study and professor at Columbia University. James Hone continues: “Our combination of hBN and graphene electrodes is like a ‘socket’ into which we can place many other materials and study them in an extremely clean environment to understand their true properties and potential”.

The new platform holds great promise for a broad range of applications including high-performance electronics, such as flexible computer screens, and detection and emission of light as e.g. in solar cells.

Researchers from DTU Nanotech are working to further refine the technology and to study the low-temperature properties of these ultra-clean stacks. The researchers hope to capture some of the new phenomena which have been theoretically predicted but not yet measured in these 2D materials. These phenomena include new ways of interacting with light, thus opening up for entirely new concepts for devices such as solar cells and photodetectors.

The research is published in Nature Nanotechnology. Read the full article here.

Source: DTU

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