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Scientists Craft Atomically Seamless, Thinnest-Possible Semiconductor Junctions

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The heterostructures have a triangular shape; the two different monolayer semiconductors are different colors.

Researchers say they have developed the thinnest-possible semiconductor using a new class of nanoscale materials.

Credit: University of Washington

University of Washington (UW) researchers believe they have developed the thinnest-possible semiconductor, a new class of nanoscale materials made in sheets only three atoms thick.

The researchers have demonstrated two of the single-layer semiconductor materials, which can be connected in an atomically seamless fashion known as heterojunction. The researchers say they can connect edge-to-edge with crystalline perfection.

The team worked with two monolayer materials--molybdenum diselenide and tungsten diselenide--that have very similar structures, which was the key to creating the composite two-dimensional semiconductor.

The researchers created the junctions in a small furnace on campus, but they believe it would be possible to mass-produce sheets of the semiconductor heterostructure with a larger furnace.

"In the future, combinations of two-dimensional materials may be integrated together in this way to form all kinds of interesting electronic structures such as in-plane quantum wells and quantum wires, superlattices, fully functioning transistors, and even complete electronic circuits," says UW professor David Cobden.

The team demonstrated the junction also has a particularly strong interaction with light, which is encouraging for optoelectric and photonic applications such as solar cells.

From University of Washington News and Information
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