December 23, 2014

"Mind the gap" between atomically thin materials

Colorized TEM image of tungsten disulfide triangles (black) growing on graphene substrate (green).

When it comes to engineering single-layer atomic structures, "minding the gap" will help researchers create artificial electronic materials one atomic layer at a time, according to a team of materials scientists. 

The gap is a miniscule vacuum that researchers in Penn State's Center for 2-Dimensional and Layered Materials believe is an energy barrier keeping electrons from easily crossing from one layer of material to the next.