Scientists have developed what they believe is the thinnest-possible semiconductor, a new class of nanoscale materials made in sheets three atoms thick.
The University of Washington researchers 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 (LEDs) and solar technologies.
The research was published online in August 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 similar structures, which they say 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 distortions or discontinuities. This provides what researchers say is the strongest possible link between two single-layer materials, necessary for flexible devices.