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Reducing LED, solar dev't costs by stacking 2D materials

Posted: 29 Dec 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:North Carolina State University  LED  solar manufacturing  laser 

North Carolina State University researchers have discovered that by stacking one atom thick materials, they can create semiconductor junctions that efficiently transfer charge, regardless of whether the crystalline structure of the materials is mismatched. According to them, the results could pave the way for less-costly manufacturing for a number of semiconductor devices such as LEDs, solar cells and lasers.

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This work demonstrates that by stacking multiple 2D materials in random ways we can create semiconductor junctions that are as functional as those with perfect alignment, explained Linyou Cao, senior author of a paper on the work and an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at North Carolina State University. This could make the manufacture of semiconductor devices an order of magnitude less expensive.

For most semiconductor electronic or photonic devices to work, they need to have a junction, which is where two semiconductor materials are bound together. For example, in photonic devices such as solar cells, lasers and LEDs, the junction is where photons are converted into electrons, or vice versa.

All semiconductor junctions rely on efficient charge transfer between materials, to ensure that current flows smoothly and that a minimum of energy is lost during the transfer. To do that in conventional semiconductor junctions, the crystalline structures of both materials need to match but that limits the materials that can be used, because you need to make sure the crystalline structures are compatible. The limited number of material matches restricts the complexity and range of possible functions for semiconductor junctions.

- Paul Buckley
  EE Times Europe





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