Graphene ‘nano-origami’ could enable tiny microchips

Scientists at the University of Sussex have developed a technique for making tiny microchips from graphene and other 2D materials, using a form of ‘nano-origami’.

By creating distortions in the structure of the graphene, the researchers were able to make the nanomaterial behave like a transistor. “We’re mechanically creating kinks in a layer of graphene,” says Professor Alan Dalton of the School of Mathematical and Physics Sciences at the University of Sussex. “It’s a bit like nano-origami. Using these nanomaterials will make our computer chips smaller and faster. It is absolutely critical that this happens as computer manufacturers are now at the limit of what they can do with traditional semiconducting technology. Ultimately, this will make our computers and phones thousands of times faster in the future.”

New technique may enable large-area integration of 2D materials

Researchers affiliated with the Graphene Flagship from RWTH Aachen University, Universität der Bundeswehr München and AMO in Germany, KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and with Protemics have reported a new method to integrate graphene and 2D materials into semiconductor manufacturing lines, a milestone for the recently launched 2D-EPL project.

Schematic illustration of the methodology for wafer-level transfer of two-dimensional materials imageImage from Nature Communications

Two-dimensional (2D) materials have a huge potential for providing devices with much smaller size and extended functionalities with respect to what can be achieved with today's silicon technologies. But to exploit this potential, it is vital to be able to integrate 2D materials into semiconductor manufacturing lines - a notoriously difficult step. This new technique could be a step in the right direction as far as solving this problem is concerned.

Stretchable and ultrasensitive NO2 sensors based on rGO and MOS2 nanocomposites

Researchers at Penn State, Northeastern University and five universities in China have developed and tested a stretchable, wearable gas sensor for environmental sensing.

Stretchable, ultrasensitive, and low-temperature NO2 sensors based on MoS2@rGO nanocomposites image

The sensor combines a newly developed laser-induced graphene foam material with a unique form of molybdenum disulfide and reduced-graphene oxide nanocomposites. The researchers were interested in seeing how different morphologies of the gas-sensitive nanocomposites affect the sensitivity of the material to detecting nitrogen dioxide molecules at very low concentration. To change the morphology, they packed a container with very finely ground salt crystals.

Graphene and MoS2 make for a highly light-absorbent and tunable material

Physicists at the University of Basel have created a novel structure with the ability to absorb almost all light of a selected wavelength, by layering different 2D materials: graphene and molybdenum disulfide.

A highly light-absorbent and tunable material made of graphene and MoS2 imageSchematic illustration of the electron-hole pairs (electron: pink, hole: blue), which are formed by absorption of light in the two-layer molybdenum disulfide layer. Credit: Nadine Leisgang and Lorenzo Ceccarelli, Department of Physics, University of Basel

The new structure's particular properties reportedly make it a candidate for applications in optical components or as a source of individual photons, which play a key role in quantum research.

New technique allows for processing surfaces on an atomic scale

Researchers at TU Wien have designed a nano-structuring method, with which certain layers of a material can be perforated with extreme precision while others are left completely untouched, even though the projectile penetrates all layers.

Atomic-Scale Carving of Nanopores into 2D materials imageThe projectile penetrates all layers, but only in the top layer, a big hole is created. The graphene below remains intact. Credit: TU Wien

This is made possible with the help of highly charged ions - they can be used to selectively process the surfaces of novel 2D material systems, for example to anchor certain metals on them, which can then serve as catalysts.