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Physicists find misaligned carbon sheets yield unparalleled properties

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Home > Press > Physicists find misaligned carbon sheets yield unparalleled properties

Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a flat honeycomb pattern, where each hexagon is formed by six carbon atoms at its vertices. University of Texas at Dallas physicists are studying the electrical properties that emerge when two layers of graphene are stacked. CREDIT
University of Texas at Dallas
Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a flat honeycomb pattern, where each hexagon is formed by six carbon atoms at its vertices. University of Texas at Dallas physicists are studying the electrical properties that emerge when two layers of graphene are stacked. CREDIT
University of Texas at Dallas

Abstract:
A material composed of two one-atom-thick layers of carbon has grabbed the attention of physicists worldwide for its intriguing — and potentially exploitable — conductive properties.

This animation shows what happens when two stacked graphene layers are misaligned by a small amount called a twist angle. A new periodic design in the mesh emerges, called a moiré pattern. UT Dallas physicists are investigating how the twist angle affects the electronic properties of such twisted bilayer graphene.

Physicists find misaligned carbon sheets yield unparalleled properties


Austin, TX | Posted on July 31st, 2020

Dr. Fan Zhang, assistant professor of physics in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at The University of Texas at Dallas, and physics doctoral student Qiyue Wang published an article in June with Dr. Fengnian Xia’s group at Yale University in Nature Photonics that describes how the ability of twisted bilayer graphene to conduct electrical current changes in response to mid-infrared light.

From One to Two Layers

Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a flat honeycomb pattern, where each hexagon is formed by six carbon atoms at its vertices. Since graphene’s first isolation in 2004, its unique properties have been intensely studied by scientists for potential use in advanced computers, materials and devices.

If two sheets of graphene are stacked on top of one another, and one layer is rotated so that the layers are slightly out of alignment, the resulting physical configuration, called twisted bilayer graphene, yields electronic properties that differ significantly from those exhibited by a single layer alone or by two aligned layers.

“Graphene has been of interest for about 15 years,” Zhang said. “A single layer is interesting to study, but if we have two layers, their interaction should render much richer and more interesting physics. This is why we want to study bilayer graphene systems.”

A New Field Emerges

When the graphene layers are misaligned, a new periodic design in the mesh emerges, called a moiré pattern. The moiré pattern is also a hexagon, but it can be made up of more than 10,000 carbon atoms.

“The angle at which the two layers of graphene are misaligned — the twist angle — is critically important to the material’s electronic properties,” Wang said. “The smaller the twist angle, the larger the moiré periodicity.”

The unusual effects of specific twist angles on electron behavior were first proposed in a 2011 article by Dr. Allan MacDonald, professor of physics at UT Austin, and Dr. Rafi Bistritzer. Zhang witnessed the birth of this field as a doctoral student in MacDonald’s group.

“At that time, others really paid no attention to the theory, but now it has become arguably the hottest topic in physics,” Zhang said.

In that 2011 research MacDonald and Bistritzer predicted that electrons’ kinetic energy can vanish in a graphene bilayer misaligned by the so-called “magic angle” of 1.1 degrees. In 2018, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology proved this theory, finding that offsetting two graphene layers by 1.1 degrees produced a two-dimensional superconductor, a material that conducts electrical current with no resistance and no energy loss.

In a 2019 article in Science Advances, Zhang and Wang, together with Dr. Jeanie Lau’s group at The Ohio State University, showed that when offset by 0.93 degrees, twisted bilayer graphene exhibits both superconducting and insulating states, thereby widening the magic angle significantly.

“In our previous work, we saw superconductivity as well as insulation. That’s what’s making the study of twisted bilayer graphene such a hot field — superconductivity. The fact that you can manipulate pure carbon to superconduct is amazing and unprecedented,” Wang said.

New UT Dallas Findings

In his most recent research in Nature Photonics, Zhang and his collaborators at Yale investigated whether and how twisted bilayer graphene interacts with mid-infrared light, which humans can’t see but can detect as heat. “Interactions between light and matter are useful in many devices — for example, converting sunlight into electrical power,” Wang said. “Almost every object emits infrared light, including people, and this light can be detected with devices.”

Zhang is a theoretical physicist, so he and Wang set out to determine how mid-infrared light might affect the conductance of electrons in twisted bilayer graphene. Their work involved calculating the light absorption based on the moiré pattern’s band structure, a concept that determines how electrons move in a material quantum mechanically.

“There are standard ways to calculate the band structure and light absorption in a regular crystal, but this is an artificial crystal, so we had to come up with a new method,” Wang said. Using resources of the Texas Advanced Computing Center, a supercomputer facility on the UT Austin campus, Wang calculated the band structure and showed how the material absorbs light.

The Yale group fabricated devices and ran experiments showing that the mid-infrared photoresponse — the increase in conductance due to the light shining — was unusually strong and largest at the twist angle of 1.8 degrees. The strong photoresponse vanished for a twist angle less than 0.5 degrees.

“Our theoretical results not only matched well with the experimental findings, but also pointed to a mechanism that is fundamentally connected to the period of moiré pattern, which itself is connected to the twist angle between the two graphene layers,” Zhang said.

Next Step

“The twist angle is clearly very important in determining the properties of twisted bilayer graphene,” Zhang added. “The question arises: Can we apply this to tune other two-dimensional materials to get unprecedented features? Also, can we combine the photoresponse and the superconductivity in twisted bilayer graphene? For example, can shining a light induce or somehow modulate superconductivity? That will be very interesting to study.”

“This new breakthrough will potentially enable a new class of infrared detectors based on graphene with high sensitivity,” said Dr. Joe Qiu, program manager for solid-state electronics and electromagnetics at the U.S. Army Research Office (ARO), an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory. “These new detectors will potentially impact applications such as night vision, which is of critical importance for the U.S. Army.”

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In addition to the Yale researchers, other authors included scientists from the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan. The ARO, the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research supported the study.

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Contacts:
Amanda Siegfried
972-883-4335

@ut_dallas

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SEMI Partners with GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Offer Apprenticeship Program Aimed at Building the Electronics Talent Pipeline

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Home > Press > SEMI Partners with GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Offer Apprenticeship Program Aimed at Building the Electronics Talent Pipeline

Abstract:
SEMI, the industry association serving the global electronics design and manufacturing supply chain, today launched a new collaborative apprenticeship program to make it easier for companies to offer training and for more workers to pursue careers in electronics. The competency-based SEMI Industry Approved Apprenticeship Program (IAAP) is designed to identify skills gaps and deliver targeted training that efficiently meets industry employers’ hiring needs.

SEMI Partners with GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Offer Apprenticeship Program Aimed at Building the Electronics Talent Pipeline


Milpitas, CA | Posted on August 11th, 2020

SEMI developed the IAAP in partnership with GLOBALFOUNDRIES® (GF®), the largest pure-play semiconductor foundry in the U.S. and the world’s leading specialty foundry. Designed to be scaled to meet industry demand for technicians, the program leverages SEMI’s Unified Competency Model (UCM), which was formed with industry input as a new skills standard and is endorsed by the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration (USDOL-ETA). The UCM is posted on DOL-ETA’s Competency Model Clearinghouse.
“GLOBALFOUNDRIES has long been committed to building educational partnerships that benefit both our employees and the region, particularly in developing a highly skilled workforce to ensure our industry and the U.S. remains at the forefront of innovation for years to come,” said Ron Sampson, senior vice president and general manager of U.S. Fab Operations at GF. “Through SEMI’s new Industry Approved Apprenticeship Program, we look forward to helping our employees advance their careers, while playing an important role in workforce training and boosting the semiconductor manufacturing talent pool.”

“The IAAP is designed to help the microelectronics industry and advanced manufacturers overcome the talent shortage by enabling companies to fill skills gaps more effectively and at lower cost,” said Mike Russo, vice president of Industry Advancement and Government Programs at SEMI. “SEMI will continue to work to ensure the IAAP lays a path for employers to pursue government-registered apprenticeship programs and qualify for reimbursement of related training expenses.”

Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) will offer the apprenticeship program courses, the first certified under the SEMI Certs program, online. The course curriculum is aligned with UCM to ensure course curriculum supports the development of skills required by the electronics industry.

“We are excited to be a partner in this pilot program that is expected to graduate approximately 50 apprentices by the end of this year and more than 100 apprentices by the end of 2021,” said Roger Ramsammy, president of Hudson Valley Community College. “Hudson Valley’s participation in the SEMI Certs program has ensured our courses are aligned with industry requirements and that participants receive college credits to help them pursue related degrees and support career laddering. In addition, we hope the program will ultimately be a New York State Registered Apprenticeship Program, providing access to tuition reimbursement for Required Technical Training.”

Along with GLOBALFOUNDRIES and HVCC, SEMI partnered with SUNY Polytechnic Institute, the Manufacturing Association of Central New York (MACNY) and the Center for Economic Growth (CEG), a nonprofit economic and business development organization that serves as the primary point of contact for businesses interested in growing in or moving to New York’s eight-county capital region, to develop the apprenticeship program.

The apprentice program marks a milestone in the evolution of SEMI Works™, the first U.S. electronics workforce development program developed under a partnership with the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF-ATE) Program, the USDOL-ETA and academic partner SUNY Polytechnic Institute in New York.

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About SEMI
SEMI® connects more than 2,400 member companies and 1.3 million professionals worldwide to advance the technology and business of electronics design and manufacturing. SEMI members are responsible for the innovations in materials, design, equipment, software, devices, and services that enable smarter, faster, more powerful, and more affordable electronic products. Electronic System Design Alliance (ESD Alliance), FlexTech, the Fab Owners Alliance (FOA) and the MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (MSIG) are SEMI Strategic Technology Communities, defined communities within SEMI focused on specific technologies. Visit www.semi.org to learn more, contact one of our worldwide offices, and connect with SEMI on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Materials science researchers develop first electrically injected laser: The diode laser uses semiconducting material germanium tin and could improve micro-processing speed and efficiency at much lower costs

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Home > Press > Materials science researchers develop first electrically injected laser: The diode laser uses semiconducting material germanium tin and could improve micro-processing speed and efficiency at much lower costs

Fisher Yu, University of Arkansas CREDIT
University of Arkansas
Fisher Yu, University of Arkansas CREDIT
University of Arkansas

Abstract:
Materials science researchers, led by electrical engineering professor Shui-Qing “Fisher” Yu, have demonstrated the first electrically injected laser made with germanium tin.

Materials science researchers develop first electrically injected laser: The diode laser uses semiconducting material germanium tin and could improve micro-processing speed and efficiency at much lower costs


Fayetteville, AR | Posted on August 11th, 2020

Used as a semiconducting material for circuits on electronic devices, the diode laser could improve micro-processing speed and efficiency at much lower costs.

In tests, the laser operated in pulsed conditions up to 100 kelvins, or 279 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.

“Our results are a major advance for group-IV-based lasers,” Yu said. “They could serve as the promising route for laser integration on silicon and a major step toward significantly improving circuits for electronics devices.”

The research is sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the findings have been published in Optica, the journal of The Optical Society. Yiyin Zhou, a U of A doctoral student in the microelectronics-photonics program authored the article. Zhou and Yu worked with colleagues at several institutions, including Arizona State University, the University of Massachusetts Boston, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and Wilkes University in Pennsylvania. The researchers also collaborated with Arktonics, an Arkansas semiconductor equipment manufacturer.

The alloy germanium tin is a promising semiconducting material that can be easily integrated into electronic circuits, such as those found in computer chips and sensors. The material could lead to the development of low-cost, lightweight, compact and low power-consuming electronic components that use light for information transmission and sensing.

Yu has worked with germanium tin for many years. Researchers in his laboratory have demonstrated the material’s efficacy as a powerful semiconducting alloy. After reporting the fabrication of a first-generation, “optically pumped” laser, meaning the material was injected with light, Yu and researchers in his laboratory continue to refine the material.

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Advance in programmable synthetic materials: Reading sequence of metal atoms in MOFs allows encoding of multiple chemical functions

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Home > Press > Advance in programmable synthetic materials: Reading sequence of metal atoms in MOFs allows encoding of multiple chemical functions

Rods of multivariate MOFs (left) can be programmed with different metal atoms (colored balls) to do a series of chemical tasks, such as controlled drug release, or to encode information like the ones and zeros in a digital computer. CREDIT
UC Berkeley image by Omar Yaghi and Zhe Ji
Rods of multivariate MOFs (left) can be programmed with different metal atoms (colored balls) to do a series of chemical tasks, such as controlled drug release, or to encode information like the ones and zeros in a digital computer. CREDIT
UC Berkeley image by Omar Yaghi and Zhe Ji

Abstract:
Artificial molecules could one day form the information unit of a new type of computer or be the basis for programmable substances. The information would be encoded in the spatial arrangement of the individual atoms – similar to how the sequence of base pairs determines the information content of DNA, or sequences of zeros and ones form the memory of computers.

Advance in programmable synthetic materials: Reading sequence of metal atoms in MOFs allows encoding of multiple chemical functions


Berkeley, CA | Posted on August 11th, 2020

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have taken a step towards this vision. They showed that atom probe tomography can be used to read a complex spatial arrangement of metal ions in multivariate metal-organic frameworks.

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are crystalline porous networks of multi-metal nodes linked together by organic units to form a well-defined structure. To encode information using a sequence of metals, it is essential to be first able to read the metal arrangement. However, reading the arrangement was extremely challenging. Recently, the interest in characterizing metal sequences is growing because of the extensive information such multivariate structures would be able to offer.

Fundamentally, there was no method to read the metal sequence in MOFs. In the current study, the research team has successfully done so by using atom probe tomography (APT), in which the Bochum-based materials scientist Tong Li is an expert. The researchers chose MOF-74, made by the Yaghi group in 2005, as an object of interest. They designed the MOFs with mixed combinations of cobalt, cadmium, lead, and manganese, and then decrypted their spatial structure using APT.

Li, professor and head of the Atomic-Scale Characterisation research group at the Institute for Materials at RUB, describes the method together with Dr. Zhe Ji and Professor Omar Yaghi from UC Berkeley in the journal Science, published online on August 7, 2020.

Just as sophisticated as biology

In the future, MOFs could form the basis of programmable chemical molecules: for instance, an MOF could be programmed to introduce an active pharmaceutical ingredient into the body to target infected cells and then break down the active ingredient into harmless substances once it is no longer needed. Or MOFs could be programmed to release different drugs at different times.

“This is very powerful, because you are basically coding the behavior of molecules leaving the pores,” Yaghi said.

They could also be used to capture CO2 and, at the same time, convert the CO2 into a useful raw material for the chemical industry.

“In the long term, such structures with programmed atomic sequences can completely change our way of thinking about material synthesis,” write the authors. “The synthetic world could reach a whole new level of precision and sophistication that has previously been reserved for biology.”

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The work was supported by the Center of Excellence for Nanomaterials and Clean Energy Applications at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.

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Robert Sanders
510-915-3097

@UCBerkeley

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Researchers capture X-ray images with unprecedented speed and resolution: Ghost imaging approach could enable detailed movies of the heart with low-dose x-rays August 7th, 2020

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Highly sensitive dopamine detector uses 2D materials August 7th, 2020

Study: Mapping crystal shapes could fast-track 2D materials: Experts call for global effort to clear hurdles to mass production July 27th, 2020

‘Blinking” crystals may convert CO2 into fuels: Unusual nanoparticles could benefit the quest to build a quantum computer July 17th, 2020

Membrane technology could cut emissions and energy use in oil refining July 17th, 2020

Source: http://www.nanotech-now.com/news.cgi?story_id=56293

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