Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Similar to carbon, silicon forms two dimensional networks that are only one atomic layer thick. Like graphene, for whose discovery Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov received the Nobel Prize in 2010, these layers possess extraordinary optoelectrical properties. Silicon nanosheets might thus find application in nanoelectronics, for example in flexible displays, field-effect transistors and photodetectors. With its ability to store lithium ions, it is also under consideration as an anode material in rechargeable lithium batteries.
Extruded spiral made of polymer-coated silicon-nanosheets glowing in UV light
Photo: Tobias Helbich / TUM
“Silicon nanosheets are particularly interesting because today’s information technology builds on silicon and, unlike with graphene, the basic material does not need to be exchanged,” explains Tobias Helbich from the WACKER Chair for Macromolecular Chemistry at TUM. “However, the nanosheets themselves are very delicate and quickly disintegrate when exposed to UV light, which has significantly limited their application thus far.”
Polymer and nanosheets – the best of both worlds in one
Now Helbich, in collaboration with Professor Bernhard Rieger, Chair of Macromolecular Chemistry, has for the first time successfully embedded the silicon nanosheets into a polymer, protecting them from decay. At the same time, the nanosheets are protected against oxidation. This is the first nanocomposite based on silicon nanosheets.
“What makes our nanocomposite special is that it combines the positive properties of both of its components,” explains Tobias Helbich. “The polymer matrix absorbs light in the UV domain, stabilizes the nanosheets and gives the material the properties of the polymer, while at the same time maintaining the remarkable optoelectronic properties of the nanosheets.”
Long-term goal of nanoelectronics – In leaps and bounds to industrial application
Its flexibility and durability against external influences also makes the newly developed material amenable to standard polymer technology for industrial processing. This puts actual applications within an arm’s reach.
The composites are particularly well suited for application in the up and coming field of nanoelectronics. Here, “classical” electronic components like circuits and transistors are implemented on scales of less than 100 nanometers. This allows whole new technologies to be realized – for faster computer processors, for example.
The first successful application of the nanocomposite constructed by Helbich was only recently presented in the context of the ATUMS Graduate Program (Alberta / TUM International Graduate School for Functional Hybrid Materials): Alina Lyuleeva and Prof. Paolo Lugli from the Institute of Nanoelectronics at TU Munich, in collaboration with Helbich and Rieger, succeeded in building a photodetector based on these silicon nanosheets.
To this end, they mounted the polymer embedded silicon nanosheets onto a silicon dioxide surface coated with gold contacts. Because of its Lilliputian dimensions, this kind of nanoelectronic detector saves a lot of both space and energy.
The research is part of the ATUMS Graduate Program (Alberta / TUM International Graduate School for Functional Hybrid Materials (ATUMS; IRTG 2022)) in which German and Canadian scientists in the fields of chemistry, electrical engineering and physics collaborate closely. Their goal is not only to create novel functions based on nanoparticles and polymer materials, but, at the same time, to develop first applications. The work is funded by the German Research Council (DFG) and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
Helbich, T., Lyuleeva, A., Ludwig, T., Scherf, L. M., Fässler, T. F., Lugli, P., & Rieger, B.
One‐Step Synthesis of Photoluminescent Covalent Polymeric Nanocomposites from 2D Silicon Nanosheets
Advanced Functional Materials, 26(37), 6711-6718 – DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201602137
Lyuleeva, A., Helbich, T., Rieger, B., Lugli, P.
Polymer-Silicon Nanosheet Composites: Bridging the Way to Optoelectronic Applications
Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 2017, Vol 50, 135106 – DOI: 10.1088/1361-6463/aa5005
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Rieger
Wacker-Chair of Macromolecular Chemistry
Technical University of Munich
Lichtenbergstraße 4, 85747 Garching
Tel.: +49 89 289 13571 – E-Mail: email@example.com
Web: http://www.makro.ch.tum.de/index.php?id=1280&L=1 – http://www.makro.ch.tum.de/index.php?id=2598
https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/detail/article/33796/ Link to the press release
Dr. Ulrich Marsch | Technische Universität München
Move over, Superman! NIST method sees through concrete to detect early-stage corrosion
27.04.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Control of molecular motion by metal-plated 3-D printed plastic pieces
27.04.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences