Researchers Quickly Harvest 2-D Materials, Bringing Them Closer to Commercialization


Researchers in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering have actually established a method to harvest 2-inch size wafers of 2-D product within simply a couple of minutes.

Image: Peng Lin

Since the 2003 discovery of the single-atom-thick carbon product called graphene, there has actually been substantial interest in other kinds of 2-D materials also.

These materials might be stacked together like Lego bricks to form a variety of gadgets with various functions, consisting of operating as semiconductors. In by doing this, they might be utilized to develop ultra-thin, versatile, transparent and wearable electronic gadgets.

However, separating a bulk crystal product into 2-D flakes for usage in electronic devices has actually shown tough to do on a business scale.

The existing procedure, in which specific flakes are divided off from the bulk crystals by consistently marking the crystals onto an adhesive tape, is undependable and lengthy, needing lots of hours to harvest sufficient product and form a gadget.

Now researchers in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT have actually established a method to harvest 2-inch size wafers of 2-D product within simply a couple of minutes. They can then be stacked together to form an electronic gadget within an hour.

The method, which they explain in a paper released in the journal Science, might open the possibility of advertising electronic gadgets based upon a range of 2-D materials, according to Jeehwan Kim, an associate teacher in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, who led the research study.

The paper’s co-first authors were Sanghoon Bae, who was associated with versatile gadget fabrication, and Jaewoo Shim, who dealt with the stacking of the 2-D product monolayers. Both are postdocs in Kim’s group.

The paper’s co-authors likewise consisted of trainees and postdocs from within Kim’s group, along with partners at Georgia Tech, the University of Texas, Yonsei University in South Korea, and the University ofVirginia Sang-HoonBae, Jaewoo Shim, Wei Kong, and Doyoon Lee in Kim’s research study group similarly contributed to this work.

“We have shown that we can do monolayer-by-monolayer isolation of 2-D materials at the wafer scale,”Kim states. “Secondly, we have demonstrated a way to easily stack up these wafer-scale monolayers of 2-D material.”

The researchers initially grew a thick stack of 2-D product on top of a sapphire wafer. They then used a 600- nanometer-thick nickel movie to the top of the stack.

Since2-D materials adhere a lot more highly to nickel than to sapphire, taking off this movie enabled the researchers to different the whole stack from the wafer.

What’s more, the adhesion in between the nickel and the specific layers of 2-D product is likewise higher than that in between each of the layers themselves.

As an outcome, when a 2nd nickel movie was then included to the bottom of the stack, the researchers were able to remove specific, single-atom thick monolayers of 2-D product.

That is due to the fact that removing the very first nickel movie produces fractures in the product that propagate right through to the bottom of the stack, Kim states.

Once the very first monolayer gathered by the nickel movie has actually been moved to a substrate, the procedure can be duplicated for each layer.

“We use very simple mechanics, and by using this controlled crack propagation concept we are able to isolate monolayer 2-D material at the wafer scale,” he states.

The universal method can be utilized with a variety of various 2-D materials, consisting of hexagonal boron nitride, tungsten disulfide, and molybdenum disulfide.

In by doing this it can be utilized to produce various kinds of monolayer 2-D materials, such as semiconductors, metals, and insulators, which can then be stacked together to form the 2-D heterostructures required for an electronic gadget.

“If you fabricate electronic and photonic devices using 2-D materials, the devices will be just a few monolayers thick,”Kim states. “They will be extremely flexible, and can be stamped on to anything,” he states.

The procedure is quick and affordable, making it appropriate for business operations, he includes.

The researchers have actually likewise shown the method by effectively producing ranges of field-effect transistors at the wafer scale, with a density of simply a couple of atoms.

“The work has a lot of potential to bring 2-D materials and their heterostructures towards real-world applications,” states Philip Kim, a teacher of physics at Harvard University, who was not associated with the research study.

The researchers are now preparing to use the method to establish a variety of electronic gadgets, consisting of a nonvolatile memory selection and versatile gadgets that can be endured the skin.

They are likewise thinking about using the method to establish gadgets for usage in the “internet of things,” Kim states.

“All you need to do is grow these thick 2-D materials, then isolate them in monolayers and stack them up. So it is extremely cheap — much cheaper than the existing semiconductor process. This means it will bring laboratory-level 2-D materials into manufacturing for commercialization,”Kim states.

“That makes it perfect for IoT networks, because if you were to use conventional semiconductors for the sensing systems it would be expensive.”

Source: MIT

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