New suggested multifunctional nanomaterial can enhance solar power, quantum computer

Jan 12, 2021 02:24 PM ET
  • An irregular two-dimensional sandwich has the yummy component on the outside for researchers as well as engineers establishing multifunctional nanodevices.
New suggested multifunctional nanomaterial can enhance solar power, quantum computer
Image: Illustration by Jun-Jie Zhang

An atom-thin layer of semiconductor antimony paired with ferroelectric indium selenide would present special buildings relying on the side and also polarization by an external electrical area.

The field could be used to support indium selenide's polarization, a long-sought residential property that tends to be ravaged by interior fields in materials like perovskites but would be very beneficial for solar energy applications.

Computations by Rice materials theorist Boris Yakobson, lead writer and also researcher Jun-Jie Zhang and also college student Dongyang Zhu reveals changing the material's polarization with an exterior electric area makes it either an easy insulator with a band void suitable for visible light absorption or a topological insulator, a product that just conducts electrons along its surface area.

Turning the area internal would make the material great for solar panels. Turning it outward might make it valuable as a spintronic tool for quantum computing.

The lab's research shows up in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters.

" The ability to change at will the product's digital band structure is an extremely attractive handle," Yakobson said. "The strong combining in between ferroelectric state and also topological order can assist: the used voltage switches over the topology through the ferroelectric polarization, which serves as an intermediary. This supplies a new paradigm for gadget design and also control."

Weakly bound by the van der Waals pressure, the layers transform their physical arrangement when exposed to an electric field. That alters the compound's band gap, and also the change is not unimportant, Zhang said.

" The main selenium atoms shift together with changing ferroelectric polarization," he claimed. "This kind of changing in indium selenide has been observed in current experiments."

Unlike various other structures suggested as well as inevitably made by experimentalists-- boron buckyballs are a good example-- the changing material may be reasonably simple to make, according to the scientists.

"As opposed to typical bulk solids, easy peeling of van der Waals crystals along the low surface energy plane realistically permits their reassembly right into heterobilayers, opening brand-new opportunities like the one we uncovered here," Zhang said.

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