July 6, 2015

Transition from Three to Two Dimensions Increases Conduction, MIPT Scientists Discover

(July 6, 2015)  Scientists from the MIPT Department of Molecular and Chemical Physics have for the first time described the behavior of electrons in a previously unstudied analogue of graphene, two-dimensional niobium telluride, and, in the process, uncovered the nature of two-dimensionality effects on conducting properties. These findings will help in the creation of future flat and flexible electronic devices.

In recent decades, physicists have been actively studying so-called two-dimensional materials. Andrei Geim and Konstantin Novoselov received the Nobel Prize for their research on graphene, the most well-known among them. The properties of such materials, which can be described as “sheets” with a thickness of a few atoms, strongly differ from their three-dimensional analogues. For example, graphene is transparent, conducts current better than copper and has good thermal conductivity. Scientists believe that other types of two-dimensional materials may possess even more exotic properties.

A group of scientists from Russia and the USA, including Pavel Sorokin and Liubov Antipina from MIPT, recently conducted research on the properties of the crystals of one such material,Nb3SiTe6, a compound of niobium telluride. In their structure, the crystals resemble sandwiches with a thickness of three atoms (around 4 angstroms): a layer of tellurium, a layer of niobium mixed with silicon atoms and then another layer of tellurium. This substance belongs to a class of materials known as dichalcogenides, which many scientists view as promising two-dimensional semiconductors.

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