The electrical conductivity of graphene can potentially be boosted by a new material arrangement developed by researchers in Switzerland.
“The material graphene already is well known for being versatile for various uses due to its small size, light weight, and high electrical conductivity. The carbon-based nanomaterial already is being used in various applications, including electronics, 3D printing, and the development of new materials.
Now researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland have found a potential way to improve graphene’s electrical properties by combining an atomically thin graphene and a boron nitride layer at a slightly rotated angle.
This arrangement demonstrates for the first time that adding a third layer to the material combination—basically developing a three-layer sandwich of carbon and boron nitride—significantly increases the number of potential synthetic materials.These materials can be used to change or artificially produce new electronic material properties, said Andreas Baumgartner, a senior scientist at the university and head of the Swiss Nanoscience Institute’s PhD school.
“To put it simply, the atomic patterns determine the behavior of electrons in a material, and we are combining different naturally occurring patterns to create new synthetic materials,” Baumgartner, the project’s supervisor, said in a university news release. “Now we have discovered effects in these tailor-made electronic devices that are consistent with a three-layer superstructure.”
The research builds on the work U.S. researchers revealed last year, in which they showed that by rotating two stacked graphene layers by an angle of 1.1 degrees, graphene became a superconductor. This example already demonstrated how a combination of atomically thin materials can produce completely new electrical properties.
Specifically, when the physicists from Basel experimented with three layers, two superlattices were formed between the graphene and the upper and the lower boron nitride layer, respectively. This created an even larger superstructure than possible with only one layer, making the possibilities for new material applications—and thus the expansion of electrical properties of graphene—even broader than in previous research, scientists said.”
Read full article Electrical Properties of Graphene Expanded by New Material Design by Elizabeth Montalbano.
Source: Design News
Image: The graphic shows a graphene layer (black) of hexagonally arranged carbon atoms is placed between two layers of boron nitride atoms, which are also arranged hexagonally with a slightly different size. The overlap creates honeycomb patterns in various sizes. This arrangement, developed by researchers in Switzerland, boosts the electrical properties of graphene. (Image source: Swiss Nanoscience Institute, University of Basel)