If you think that graphene is the wonder material that can completely transform the future solar cells, electronic devices, and batteries, wait until you read this. A new, artificial graphene, has the same structure as the real thing but it can be modified in shape and size so that it improves the performance of any new device.
The material was developed by scientists from University of Luxembourg in collaboration with engineers and researchers from a number of other European institutes in Germany and the Netherlands, and it is made of conventional super thin semiconductor crystals.
Inspired by the need to find a material that can power super thin and flexible electronic devices and can boost the performance of solar cells, the team of scientists decided to look for the best super thin, or preferable two-dimensional material that can serve the purpose. Graphene, the one-carbon-atom thin sheet, has been considered to be the miracle structure that everyone is looking for, but it still gave plenty of room for improvement and the scientists decided to use this for their advantage.
The findings of their research first appeared in the journal Physical Review X. The publication reveals the incredible properties of a new graphene-like material that resembles the thin sheet of carbon atoms, but has a richer electronic structure and therefore numerous other electronic properties. The team demonstrates that an artificially produced lattice of nanocrystals, made of zinc-blende semiconductors, can be adjusted and tuned in order to achieve better performance of various devices, including solar cells, small optical and electronic devices, and why not even lasers and LED lights.
The discovery is truly incredible and does mark the beginning of a whole new line of research in developing new artificial materials that can completely transform the future of the electronic industry. If the theoretical study that the scientists conducted proves to be as practical as it promises to be, the gadgets that we are soon to see on the market might well have all properties that we could ever desire.
Image (c) Physical Review X