RMIT researchers have used liquid metal to create two-dimensional materials no thicker than a few atoms that have never before been seen in nature.
The incredible breakthrough will not only revolutionise the way we do chemistry but could be applied to enhance data storage and make faster electronics. The “once-in-a-decade” discovery has been published in Science.
The researchers dissolve metals in liquid metal to create very thin oxide layers, which previously did not exist as layered structures and which are easily peeled away.
Once extracted, these oxide layers can be used as transistor components in modern electronics. The thinner the oxide layer, the faster the electronics are. Thinner oxide layers also mean the electronics need less power. Among other things, oxide layers are used to make the touch screens on smart phones.
The research is led by Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh and Dr Torben Daeneke from RMIT’s School of Engineering, who with students have been experimenting with the method for the last 18 months.
“When you write with a pencil, the graphite leaves very thin flakes called graphene, that can be easily extracted because they are naturally occurring layered structures,” said Daeneke. “But what happens if these materials don’t exist naturally?
“Here we found an extraordinary, yet very simple method to create atomically thin flakes of materials that don’t naturally exist as layered structures.
“We use non-toxic alloys of gallium (a metal similar to aluminium) as a reaction medium. This covers the surface of the liquid metal with atomically thin oxide layers of the added metal rather than the naturally occurring gallium oxide.
“This oxide layer can then be exfoliated by simply touching the liquid metal with a smooth surface. Larger quantities of these atomically thin layers can be produced by injecting air into the liquid metal, in a process that is similar to frothing milk when making a cappuccino.”
It’s a process so cheap and simple that it could be done on a kitchen stove by a non-scientist.
“I could give these instructions to my mum, and she would be able to do this at home,” Daeneke said.
Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh said that the discovery now places previously unseen thin oxide materials into everyday reach, with profound implications for future technologies.
“We predict that the developed technology applies to approximately one-third of the periodic table. Many of these atomically thin oxides are semiconducting or dielectric materials.
“Semiconducting and dielectric components are the foundation of today’s electronic and optical devices. Working with atomically thin components is expected to lead to better, more energy efficient electronics. This technological capability has never been accessible before.”
The breakthrough could also be applied to catalysis, the basis of the modern chemical industry, reshaping how we make all chemical products including medicines, fertilisers and plastics.
The Latest on: Two-dimensional materials
- Quantum anomaly—breaking a classical symmetry with ultracold atoms on September 20, 2018 at 4:45 am
Two-dimensional materials exhibit many novel physical properties and are keenly studied for their potential uses—for example, in ultra-low energy electronics. However, strong correlations and ... […]
- Joining and connecting composites: tomorrow’s alternatives for proven mechanical processes on September 19, 2018 at 6:14 pm
The two-dimensional and high-frequency beam deflection by means ... In another development, the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Applied Material Research (IFAM) in Bremen has de... […]
- The Moore Foundation Doubles Down on Support for Quantum Materials on September 19, 2018 at 2:00 am
such as discoveries of two-dimensional and topological materials, gave a significant new impetus to an already active discipline of condensed matter physics. The opportunity was clear: accelerate prog... […]
- Chinese Researchers Develop Non-Toxic, Flexible Material for Circuits on September 19, 2018 at 1:52 am
It can be bent and stretched at will, meaning that circuits made with it can take most two-dimensional shapes. LED circuits interconnected by a new hybrid material developed by researchers in China ca... […]
- 2D material produces highest ever signals for human embryonic stem cell detection on September 16, 2018 at 11:47 pm
Chan is the first author of a recent ACS Applied Bio Materials paper ("Ultra-High Signal Detection of Human Embryonic Stem Cells Driven by Two-Dimensional Materials") describing the new technique. Her ... […]
- The rise of phosphorene analogue optoelectronic materials on September 13, 2018 at 12:01 am
(Nanowerk Spotlight) In recent years, black phosphorus (BP or phosphorene), a novel two-dimensional (2D) semiconducting material, has gained tremendous attention because of its intriguing properties, ... […]
- SUTD researchers resolve a major mystery in 2D material electronics on September 10, 2018 at 7:11 am
Schottky diode fabricated using two-dimensional (2D) materials have attracted major research spotlight in recent years due to their great promises in practical applications such as transistors, rectif... […]
- Pushing 'print' on large-scale piezoelectric materials on September 6, 2018 at 7:22 am
First ever large-scale 2-D surface deposition of piezoelectric material—Simple ... method to 'print' large-scale sheets of two dimensional piezoelectric material, opening new opportunities ... […]
- Watching two-dimensional materials grow on August 29, 2018 at 9:46 am
The production of ultra-thin 2D crystals is difficult. In the past, different techniques have yielded quite diverse results, but the reasons for this could not be accurately explained. Thanks to a new ... […]
- Chemical sensing with 2D materials on July 2, 2018 at 9:26 pm
During the last decade, two-dimensional materials (2DMs) have attracted great attention due to their unique chemical and physical properties, which make them appealing platforms for diverse applicatio... […]
via Google News and Bing News