Engineers take inspiration from the shape of sushi to create miniature electronics

Engineers usually create heterostructures to achieve new device properties that are not available for one

material.Heterostructure is a term in semiconductor physics that denotes a layered structure grown on a substrate from various semiconductors, in general, differing in the band gap. A so-called heterojunction is formed between two different materials, in which an increased concentration of carriers is possible, and hence the formation of a degenerate two-dimensional electron gas.

Such structures held by forcesVan der Waals is a 2D material view. Layers in heterostructures are stacked on top of each other, like Lego blocks. The van der Waals force - the attraction between uncharged molecules or atoms - holds materials together.

According to scientists, the new one-dimensional van der Waals heterostructure is different from others created by engineers so far.

Researchers describe it as a stack of two-dimensionallayered materials rolled into a perfect cylinder. “2D materials contact each other in the desired vertical heterostructure sequence. You don't need to worry about their side edges - they are all rolled up, like in a sushi roll. This is important for creating ultra-small devices, ”explains one of the authors of the work, professor of engineering and mechanics at the University of Pennsylvania, Vladisla Rotkin.

The study assumes that all 2D materialscan be rolled into these one-dimensional heterostructural cylinders - heteronanotubes. Scientists at the University of Tokyo recently fabricated heteronanotube electrodes and demonstrated that it can operate as an extremely small, high-performance diode despite its size.

Recall that diodes are the main type of devices,used in optoelectronics. They are at the heart of photo detectors, solar cells, light emitting devices and more. In electronics, diodes are used in several specialized circuits. Although the main electronics element is a transistor, two diodes connected to each other can also serve as a switch.

This opens up a potentially new class of materials for miniature electronics.

Discovery takes device technology out of2D materials to the next level, scientists emphasize. The new method of working with heterostructures will make it possible to create both electronic and optoelectronic devices of a new generation.

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