You are on page 1of 2

11/28/2014

'Mindthegap'betweenatomicallythinmaterialsScienceDaily

'Mindthegap'betweenatomicallythinmaterials
Date:

November21,2014

Source: PennStateMaterialsResearchInstitute
Insubwaystationsaround
London,thewarningto"Mind
theGap"helpscommuters
keepfromsteppingintoempty
spaceastheyleavethetrain.
Whenitcomestoengineering
singlelayeratomicstructures,
mindingthegapwillhelp
researcherscreateartificial
electronicmaterialsone
atomiclayeratatime.
Thegapisaminiscule
vacuumthatcanonlybeseen
underahighpower
transmissionelectron
ColorizedTEMimageoftungstendisulfidetriangles(black)growingongraphene
microscope.Thegap,
substrate(green).
researchersinPennState's
Credit:UTDallas/PennState
Centerfor2Dimensionaland
LayeredMaterials(2DLM)
believe,isanenergybarrier
thatkeepselectronsfromeasilycrossingfromonelayerofmaterialtothenext.
"It'sanaturalinsulatinglayerMotherNaturebuiltintotheseartificiallycreatedmaterials,"saidJoshuaRobinson,
assistantprofessorofmaterialsscienceandengineeringandassociatedirectorofthe2DLMCenter."We'restilltrying
tounderstandhowelectronsmoveverticallythroughtheselayeredmaterials,andwethoughtitshouldtakealotless
energy.Thankstoacombinationoftheoryandexperiment,wenowknowwehavetoaccountforthisgapwhenwe
designnewmaterials."
Forthefirsttime,thePennStateresearchersgrewasingleatomiclayeroftungstendiselenideonaoneatomthick
substrateofgraphenewithpristineinterfacesbetweenthetwolayers.Whentheytriedtoputavoltagefromthetop
tungstendiselenide(WSe2)layerdowntothegraphenelayer,theyencounteredasurprisingamountofresistance.
Abouthalfoftheresistancewascausedbythegap,whichintroducedalargebarrier,about1electronvolt(1eV),tothe
electronstryingtomovebetweenlayers.Thisenergybarriercouldproveusefulindesigningnextgenerationelectronic
devices,suchasverticaltunnelingfieldeffecttransistors,Robinsonsaid.
TheinterestinthesevanderWaalsmaterialsarosewiththediscoveryofmethodstomakesinglelayergraphiteby
usingScotchtapetomechanicallycleaveaoneatomthicklayerofcarboncalledgraphenefrombulkgraphite.Thevan
derWaalsforcethatbindslayersofgraphitetogetherisweakenoughtoallowstrippingofthesingleatomiclayer.The
PennStateresearchersuseadifferent,morescalablemethod,calledchemicalvapordeposition,todepositasingle
layerofcrystallineWSe2ontopofafewlayersofepitaxialgraphenethatisgrownfromsiliconcarbide.Although
grapheneresearchexplodedinthelastdecade,therearemanyvanderWaalsolidsthatcanbecombinedtocreate
entirelynewartificialmaterialswithunimaginableproperties.
InapaperpublishedonlinethismonthinNanoLetters,thePennStateteamandcolleaguesfromUTDallas,theNaval
ResearchLaboratory,SandiaNationalLab,andlabsinTaiwanandSaudiArabia,discoveredthatthetungsten
diselenidelayergrewinperfectlyalignedtriangularislands13micronsinsizethatslowlycoalescedintoasingle
crystalupto1centimetersquare.Robinsonbelievesitwillbepossibletogrowthesecrystalstoindustriallyuseful
waferscalesizes,althoughwillrequirealargerfurnacethanhecurrentlyhasinhislab.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141121141117.htm

1/2

11/28/2014

'Mindthegap'betweenatomicallythinmaterialsScienceDaily

"Oneofthereallyinterestingthingsaboutthisgap,"Robinsonsaid,"isthatitallowsustogrowalignedlayersdespite
thefactthattheatomsinthegraphenearenotlinedupwiththeatomsinthetungstendiselenide.Infactthereisa23
percentlatticemismatch,whichishuge.MotherNaturereallyrelaxedtheruleswhenitcomestothesebigdifferences
inatomspacing."
StorySource:
TheabovestoryisbasedonmaterialsprovidedbyPennStateMaterialsResearchInstitute.Note:Materialsmaybe
editedforcontentandlength.
JournalReference:
1. YuChuanLin,ChihYuanS.Chang,RamKrishnaGhosh,JieLi,HuiZhu,RafikAddou,BogdanDiaconescu,
TaisukeOhta,XinPeng,NingLu,MoonJ.Kim,JeremyT.Robinson,RobertMWallace,TheresaS.Mayer,Suman
Datta,LainJongLi,JoshuaA.Robinson.AtomicallyThinHeterostructuresBasedonSingleLayerTungsten
DiselenideandGraphene.NanoLetters,2014141117143307009DOI:10.1021/nl503144a
CiteThisPage:
MLA

APA

Chicago

PennStateMaterialsResearchInstitute."'Mindthegap'betweenatomicallythinmaterials."ScienceDaily.
ScienceDaily,21November2014.<www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141121141117.htm>.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141121141117.htm

2/2