by Staff Writers
Munich, Germany (SPX) Mar 09, 2017
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Similar to carbon, silicon forms two dimensional networks that are only one atomic layer thick. Like graphene, for whose discovery Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov received the Nobel Prize in 2010, these layers possess extraordinary optoelectrical properties. Silicon nanosheets might thus find application in nanoelectronics, for example in flexible displays, field-effect transistors and photodetectors. With its ability to store lithium ions, it is also under consideration as an anode material in rechargeable lithium batteries.
"Silicon nanosheets are particularly interesting because today's information technology builds on silicon and, unlike with graphene, the basic material does not need to be exchanged," explains Tobias Helbich from the WACKER Chair for Macromolecular Chemistry at TUM. "However, the nanosheets themselves are very delicate and quickly disintegrate when exposed to UV light, which has significantly limited their application thus far."
Polymer and nanosheets - the best of both worlds in one
"What makes our nanocomposite special is that it combines the positive properties of both of its components," explains Tobias Helbich. "The polymer matrix absorbs light in the UV domain, stabilizes the nanosheets and gives the material the properties of the polymer, while at the same time maintaining the remarkable optoelectronic properties of the nanosheets."
Long-term goal of nanoelectronics - In leaps and bounds to industrial application
Its flexibility and durability against external influences also makes the newly developed material amenable to standard polymer technology for industrial processing. This puts actual applications within an arm's reach.
The composites are particularly well suited for application in the up and coming field of nanoelectronics. Here, "classical" electronic components like circuits and transistors are implemented on scales of less than 100 nanometers. This allows whole new technologies to be realized - for faster computer processors, for example.
To this end, they mounted the polymer embedded silicon nanosheets onto a silicon dioxide surface coated with gold contacts. Because of its Lilliputian dimensions, this kind of nanoelectronic detector saves a lot of both space and energy.
Atlanta GA (SPX) Mar 09, 2017
For most people, the drip, drip, drip of a leaking faucet would be an annoyance. But for Georgia Institute of Technology Ph.D. candidate Alexandros Fragkopoulos, what happens inside droplets is the stuff of serious science. In the laboratory of Alberto Fernandez-Nieves in Georgia Tech's School of Physics, Fragkopoulos is studying how toroidal droplets - which initially take the shape of a donut ... read more
Technical University of Munich
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
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