Engineering Research Shows Promise for Uses of “Wonder Material”
New research from the College of Engineering details a new technique for forming a two-dimensional, single-atom sheet of two different materials with a seamless boundary. The findings, published in Science, could help revolutionize the landscape of nanotechnology and electronics.
The study was conducted by Gong Gu, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Lei Liu, a post-doctoral researcher; and Wan Deng, a graduate research assistant in collaboration with researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory.
The researchers combined two materials—graphene and hexagonal boron nitride—into a single layer only one atom thick. Graphene has attracted attention as a “wonder material” because of its high strength and electronic properties. Potential applications include lightweight, thin, flexible, yet durable display screens, electric circuits, and solar cells, as well as various medical, chemical, and industrial processes enhanced or enabled by the use of new graphene materials. To expand the uses of graphene for applications and devices, it needs to be integrated with other materials.