Scheme: University Research Fellowship
Organisation: University of Manchester
Dates: Oct 2014-Sep 2019
Summary: Graphene’s discovery has opened up a whole new scientific field which is exploring the new and unusual properties of two dimensional materials. Such materials are synthesised with a thickness of just a few atomic layers – although their other dimensions can exceed several centimetres. These materials have unique properties, often completely different of their bulk counterparts. What is more, using synthesis techniques pioneered in Manchester it is now possible to create bespoke structures with atomic precision, by combining different 2D crystals together to build so called heterostructure electronic and photonic devices. These have already shown exciting potential in flexible lighting technology, solar cells and telecommunications because their properties and functionality can be tailored simply by selecting appropriate layer sequence.
However, only around a dozen 2D materials are completely stable in air. Hundreds more react with oxygen and atmospheric water, and for monolayer materials this leads to complete structural deterioration which prevents their properties being understood.
This project solves the aforementioned problem by handling these new materials in a specially designed clean air-free environment. For example, we have studied black phosphorus a new semiconducting material, which has great potential for telecommunications. Our work showed the first transistor based on a single layer of this material. In addition we have observed the first superconductivity in a mechanically exfoliated 2D material, niobium diselenide with application for fundamental new physics as well as new optical measurements. The project offers a unique opportunity to create a large unexplored field eclipsing that of graphene, with ground-breaking impact in material research, solid state physics and real life applications.