Researchers from the Institute of Optoelectronics & Nanomaterials at Nanjing University of Science and Technology used density functional theory computations to identify novel 2D wide band gap semiconductors called arsenene and antimonene.

The materials are typical semimetals in their natural layered state. However, monolayered arsenene and antimonene are indirect wide band gap semiconductors, and under strain they become direct band-gap semiconductors. Scientists believe that such dramatic transitions of electronic properties could bring new possibilities for nanoscale transistors with high on/off ratio, optoelectronic devices and sensors based on new ultrathin semiconductors.

The researchers claim to have already fabricated these materials with a thickness of below 10 nm and are now exploring further thinning down to a monolayer. They say they are also exploring the fabrication of transistor devices.