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The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
  • 2018-04-12 11:05:35
  • Article ID: 692525

Superacids Are Good Medicine for Super Thin Semiconductors

Scientists demonstrated that powerful acids heal certain structural defects in synthetic films.

  • Credit: Image courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory

    (Top) Illustration shows a 2-D molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) semiconductor with structural defects such as missing surface atoms. (Bottom) Treating the 2-D semiconductor with a superacid heals structural defects and improves the electronic performance of the material.

The Science

Designing wearable sensors or other devices demands robust, flexible electronics. Extremely thin films, just one atom thick, such as molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), hold promise. Large-area synthesis of these materials is required for their commercialization. But today’s thin films are plagued by structural defects. These defects degrade device performance. Scientists at New York University and the Center for Functional Nanomaterials have implemented a superacid treatment for healing defects in thin MoS2 films. They showed that this straightforward chemical treatment is compatible with electronic device fabrication. Also, the process boosts device performance by reducing the density of defects in the material.   

The Impact

Wearable computers are an emerging trend. To capitalize on this trend, industry needs mechanically flexible devices. Thin films can enable power-efficient and high-speed devices. This work is a vital step toward realizing wearable devices.

Summary

The atomically thin nature of layered 2-D semiconductors gives rise to a gamut of unique physical properties, which often do not exist in traditional bulk semiconductors such as silicon. These physical properties can enable a new family of devices, from sensors to logic switches, that have superior performance compared with their conventional counterparts. Producing defect-free 2-D materials on a large scale underpins the translation of basic scientific studies into real products. However, synthetic 2-D materials are plagued with large numbers of defects that suppress many of their useful properties. In the ongoing quest to achieve large defect-free 2-D semiconductors, scientists at New York University have shown that a superacid treatment boosts the performance of devices made from monolayer 2-D MoS2. In collaboration with scientists at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, they used an advanced material characterization technique, called Nano-Auger, to study the structure of 2-D MoS2 on the atomic scale. They discovered that the superacid treatment is mostly effective in healing defects in the regions of MoS2 that have missing sulfur atoms. These findings are important steps toward realizing high-performance devices from synthetic 2-D semiconductors.

Funding

This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation. This research used resources of the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, which is a Department of Energy Office of Science user facility, at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Publications

A. Alharbi, P. Zahl, and D. Shahrjerdi, “Material and device properties of superacid-treated monolayer molybdenum disulfide.” Applied Physics Letters 110, 033503 (2017). [DOI: 10.1063/1.4974046]

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Light-Emitting Nanoparticles Could Provide a Safer Way to Image Living Cells

A research team has demonstrated how light-emitting nanoparticles, developed at Berkeley Lab, can be used to see deep in living tissue. Researchers hope they can be made to attach to specific components of cells to serve in an advanced imaging system that can pinpoint even single cancer cells.

Demonstrated Natural Refrigerant Replacements Could Reduce Energy Costs and Conserve the Environment

The 1987 Montreal Protocol and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol called for countries around the world to phase out substances that deplete the ozone layer and cause global warming, but many HVAC systems still use synthetic refrigerants that violate those international agreements and inflict environmental damage. Recently, Iranian researchers investigated how natural refrigerants could be used in geothermal heat pumps to reduce energy consumption and operating costs. They report their findings in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

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Some chemicals used to speed up the breakdown of plants for production of biofuels like ethanol are poison to the yeasts that turn the plant sugars into fuel. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and several Department of Energy laboratories have identified two changes to a single gene that can make the yeast tolerate the pretreatment chemicals.

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DOE funds 13 projects under fifth round of HPC4Manufacturing Progaram

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), which manages the High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) Program to use supercomputers to advance U.S. manufacturing, today announced the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded nearly $3.8 million for 13 industry projects under the program.

Four Argonne transportation and fuel experts collect Dept. of Energy honors

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Undergraduate students of Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) biology professor Murty Kambhampati come to Brookhaven Lab during the summer to conduct research in natural resource management.

SNS completes full neutron production cycle at record power level

The Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has reached a new milestone by operating a complete neutron production run cycle at 1.3 megawatts. Achieving the record power level with a remarkable 94 percent accelerator beam availability establishes a new baseline of operation as well as a path to operate reliably at higher powers. Increased power offers researchers the ability to conduct faster scientific analyses using neutrons on more types of materials.

Milsmann earns prestigious NSF CAREER Award

Carsten Milsmann, assistant professor in the C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry at West Virginia University, has earned the National Science Foundation's prestigious CAREER Award for research that could help develop solar energy applications that are more efficient and cheaper to produce.

46th annual SLAC Summer Institute celebrates Standard Model at 50

The event attracted 124 participants and explores the successes and challenges of the theory that describes subatomic particles and fundamental forces.

UW, PNNL to host energy research center focusing on bio-inspired design and assembly

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded an expected $10.75 million, four-year grant to the University of Washington, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and other partner institutions for a new interdisciplinary research center to define the enigmatic rules governing how molecular-scale building blocks assemble into ordered structures & hierarchical materials.

Argonne among 10 recipients of competitive grant for ultrafast science

Argonne has been awarded U.S. Department of Energy funds to probe materials and chemical processes on time scales of a quadrillionth of a second or less.

One cool camera: LSST's cryostat assembly completed

Work on the camera for the future Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) has reached a major milestone with the completion and delivery of the camera's fully integrated cryostat. With 3.2 gigapixels, the LSST camera will be the largest digital camera ever built for ground-based astronomy. It's being assembled at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

Risa Wechsler named director of KIPAC

Risa Wechsler has been appointed director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC), a joint institute of the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University. On Sept. 15, she'll take over from Tom Abel, whose five-year term at the helm of the institute is coming to an end.


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Deep Learning Stretches Up to Scientific Supercomputers

Collaboration powers machine learning software that performs data analytics on petabyte-sized data sets in series of successful test runs.

Complex Networks Identify Genes for Biofuel Crops

Systems biology leads the way to exascale computing on Summit supercomputer.

Quantum Computing of an Atomic Nucleus

The first-ever computation of an atomic nucleus, the deuteron, on a quantum chip demonstrates that even today's rudimentary quantum computers can solve nuclear physics questions.

New Approach Yields High-Purity Radium for Medical Applications

Proton-irradiated thorium targets are successfully mined for therapeutic radium isotopes.

Steering Light with Dynamic Lens-on-MEMS

Scientists add active control to design capabilities for new lightweight flat optical devices.

Sugar-Coated Sheets Selectively Target Pathogens

Researchers design self-assembling nanosheets that mimic the surface of cells.

Tracking Down Helium-4's Quarks and Gluons

Scientists obtain the first exclusive measurement of deeply virtual Compton scattering of electrons off helium-4, vital to obtaining an unambiguous 3-D view of quarks and gluons within nuclei.

Predicting Magnetic Explosions: From Plasma Current Sheet Disruption to Fast Magnetic Reconnection

Supercomputer simulations and theoretical analysis shed new light on when and how fast reconnection occurs.

Is Nature Exclusively Left Handed? Using Chilled Atoms to Find Out

Elegant techniques of trapping and polarizing atoms open vistas for beta-decay tests of fundamental symmetries, key to understanding the most basic forces and particles constituting our universe.

As Future Batteries, Hybrid Supercapacitors Are Super-Charged

A new supercapacitor could be a competitive alternative to lithium-ion batteries.


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