Our research re-engineers classic 3D systems at atomic length scale like mechanical structures such as atomically-thin membranes or flexible films and electronic structures such as transistors and photodiodes. We utilize molecular scale building blocks made from new 2D materials like graphene and molybdenum disulfide. The materials are naturally stable at only one to a few atoms thick and can be grown or manually manipulated via layer-by-layer stacking to build atomic scale heterostructures with tailored properties. These new structures are then used in applications that lie at the forefront of nanotechnology such as highly-tunable nano-electro-mechanical systems, flexible or reconfigurable electronics, pushing Moore’s Law, sensors, biological interfaces and new energy systems.
2D membrane mechanics & NEMS
What can we do with a sheet of paper only one atom thick? By taking advantage of the outstanding mechanical properties of 2D materials, we are building new Nanoelectromechanical systems out of atomic membranes, with with a focus on applications in signal processing, sensing, and flexible, reconfigurable, electronics.
Scalable Synthesis of new 2D materials
The first step to making 2D materials a technology is developing reliable and scaleable methods for producing high quality films. While graphene, a sheet of carbon only one atom thick, is the most famous example of a 2D material, there are actually hundreds of members of of the family with wildly different properties, giving a diverse pallet to explore nanoscience in two dimensions. We are working on methods to grow any 2D material for use in devices and applications.
Impact of nanoscale defects
The quality of any material is usually limited by the type of defects that can exist. As atomically thin sheets, even having a single atom out of place can strongly affect the quality of materials. By applying an array of characterization methods, we directly correlate the structure of atomic scale disorder such as substitutional defect, grain boundaries, anisotropy, and stacking misalignment on the micro to materials and device properties on the microscale such as electrical conductivity, mechanical strength and optical absorbtion.
Nanoscale devices and band engineering from tailored 2D heterostructures
By mixing and matching 2D materials as nanoscale building blocks, we can re-engineer many electronic, photonic and mechanical device at molecular length scales. However, because a 2D monolayer is, by definition, all surface, the individual layers in a heterostructure no longer behave as independent building blocks. Many properties, from thermal expansion coefficient, to electronic band structure, to interlayer energy transfer will depend on the exact structure of the interface. We take advantage of this fact to engineer completely new metamaterials and devices by engineering the alignment and layer number in heterostructures.