January 30, 2016

Nanosheet growth technique could revolutionize nanomaterial production

The new nanoscale manufacturing process draws zinc to the surface of a liquid,
where it forms sheets just a few atoms thick. XUDONG WANG

(January 30, 2016)  After six years of painstaking effort, a group of University of Wisconsin—Madison materials scientists believes the tiny sheets of the semiconductor zinc oxide they’re growing could have huge implications for the future of a host of electronic and biomedical devices.

The group — led by Xudong Wang, a UW–Madison professor of materials science and engineering, and postdoctoral researcher Fei Wang — has developed a technique for creating nearly two-dimensional sheets of compounds that do not naturally form such thin materials. It is the first time such a technique has been successful.

The researchers described their findings in the journal Nature Communications on Jan. 20.

Essentially the microscopic equivalent of a single sheet of paper, a 2-D nanosheet is a material just a few atoms thick. Nanomaterials have unique electronic and chemical properties compared to identically composed materials at larger, conventional scales.

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