New Material Is One Molecule Thick
MIT researchers have created a new material that is just one molecule thick. If this proof-of-concept material proves to be manufacturable, it could lead to ultra thin lightweight, and flexible photovoltaic cells, light emitting diodes (LEDs), and other optoelectronic devices.
The material they used, called tungsten diselenide (WSe2), is part of a class of single-molecule-thick materials under investigation for possible use in new optoelectronic devices — ones that can manipulate the interactions of light and electricity. In these experiments, the MIT researchers were able to use the material to produce diodes, the basic building block of modern electronics...
By making diodes, it is possible to produce all three basic optoelectronic devices — photodetectors, photovoltaic cells, and LEDs; the MIT team has demonstrated all three, [Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, the Mitsui Career Development Associate Professor of Physics] says. While these are proof-of-concept devices, and not designed for scaling up, the successful demonstration could point the way toward a wide range of potential uses, he says.
“It’s known how to make very large-area materials” of this type, Churchill says. While further work will be required, he says, “there’s no reason you wouldn’t be able to do it on an industrial scale.”
The MIT researchers may want to expand their idea of what you could do with single molecule thick materials. I first heard the idea in Roger Zelazny's Hugo-awardwinning 1966 novel This Immortal. He wrote about a uniquely light tent called a Gauzy:
Hasan always pitched a Gauzy - a one-molecule-layer tent, opaque, feather-light, and very tough. He never slept in it, though. He just used it to stash his junk.
(Read more about the Gauzy)
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