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New Miracle Material Developed for Smart Devices
New Miracle Material Developed for Smart Devices
With almost 1.5 billion smart phones purchased worldwide last year, manufacturers are on the lookout for something more durable and less costly.
Technology Briefing

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Currently, most parts of a smart phone are expensive and break easily. But with almost 1.5 billion smart phones purchased worldwide last year, manufacturers are on the lookout for something more durable and less costly.

As explained recently in the journal ACS Nano, an international team is working to create new dynamic hybrid devices that are are not only able to conduct electricity at unprecedented speeds, but are light, durable and easy to manufacture in large scale semiconductor plants.

The team found that by combining C60 semiconducting molecules with layered materials, such as graphene and hBN, they could produce a unique material technology, which could revolutionize the concept of smart devices.

The winning combination works because hBN provides stability, electronic compatibility and isolation charge to graphene while C60 can transform sunlight into electricity. Any smart device made from this combination would benefit from the mix of unique features, which do not exist in materials naturally. This substance, which is called a van der Waals solid, allows compounds to be brought together and assembled in a pre-defined way.

These findings show that the new 'miracle material' has similar physical properties to silicon but it has improved chemical stability, lightness and flexibility, which could potentially be used in smart devices and would be much less likely to break. The material also could mean that devices use less energy than before because of the device architecture.

By bringing together scientists from across the globe with expertise in chemistry, physics and materials science they were able to work together and use simulations to predict how all of the materials could function when combined - and ultimately, how these could work to help solve every-day problems.

The findings open the doors for further exploration of new materials. One issue that still needs to be solved is that graphene and the new material architecture is lacking a 'band gap', which is the key to the on-off switching operations performed by electronic devices. Fortunately, the team is already working on a solution that uses materials called TDMs to bypass the band-gap issue in graphene.

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