New deposition system enables monolayer 2D materials growth


van der Zande and Zhu's new MOCVD growth system provides MNTL with capability to grow new class of monolayer 2D nanomaterials.

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Mechanical Science & Engineering Assistant Professor Arend van der Zande and ECE Assistant Professor Wenjuan Zhu have introduced a new nanomaterial growth system in the MNTL clean rooms. Their PlanarTECH metal-organic chemical vapor deposition system is capable of growing a new class of monolayer 2D nanomaterials, which are known for their strength, light weight, flexibility, and through variations in chemistry, can have all the electronic properties of conventional 3D materials.

Over the last few years, there has been a surge in interest in using these materials to build molecular-scale electronics, as well as flexible electronics systems, however the research has been hindered by the ability to reliably and scalably produce 2D materials.

“With this new system, we are working to turn this new material class from a scientific curiosity to a feasible technology by using vapor phase growth to improve the control, scalability, and reliability ” says van der Zande “Up until now, monolayer 2D materials growth has largely been based on techniques like mechanical exfoliation from bulk materials or solid precursor vapor transport, both of which are extremely unreliable and only provide small amounts of useable material".

van der Zande helped PlanarTECH design the MOCVD system so researchers can simultaneously test growth of new experimental 2D materials, vary the chemistry during growth to produce alloys and heterostructures, and reliably grow wafer scale monolayers. Both he and Zhu look forward to collaborating with their MNTL colleagues on developing new materials and devices, and finding new applications for this system.

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This story was published April 28, 2016.