Extremely thin 2D materials, capable of delivering applications that are customized to meet industrial demands, will revolutionize the world in the same way that graphene will.
Leading 2D materials researchers believe that research on integrating materials that are just a few atomic layers in stacks, called heterostructures, are at the exact stage that graphene was 10 years ago. Reporting this in the journal Science, the researchers also added that the same rapid progress experienced by graphene can be expected.
In 2004, graphene was the first 2D material to be isolated at The University of Manchester. Graphene has a wide range of superlative properties such as excellent strength, transparency, flexibility and conductivity. This 2D material has also made room for applications like bendable smartphones, water filtration, anti-cancer drug delivery systems and rust-proof coatings to mention a few.
Exceptional scientific developments have been obtained by integrating graphene with other materials, which individually comprise of superior characteristics complimentary to graphene’s extraordinary properties. This integration is also capable of developing applications beyond the realm of imagination.
Authors of the review article, from the National University of Singapore and The University of Manchester, highlight that early applications could be high-mobility transistors for extremely fast LED devices and electronics using graphene as a transparent electrode.
Based on the range of possible combinations of materials, researchers believe that heterostructures are capable of delivering designer materials that help meet industrial demands.
Exploring new possibilities for integrating 2D crystal in stacks is possible as the family of 2D crystals is consistently expanding.
The next challenging task is to analyze how to mass produce 2D materials. This indeed is a similar problem experienced by graphene in the early years after it was isolated.
Sir Kostya Novoselov assumes that 2D materials are one of the most promising and exciting research areas. Sir Kostya Novoselov along with Professor Sir Andre Geim won the Nobel prize for Physics in 2010 for illustrating the extraordinary properties of graphene.
With 2D materials, we are currently where we were about 10 years ago with graphene – plenty of interesting science and unclear prospects for mass production. Given the fast progress of graphene technology over the past few years, we can expect similar advances in the production of heterostructures, making the science and applications more achievable.
Sir Kostya Novoselov
Co-author Professor Antonio Castro Neto, Director of the Centre for Advanced 2D Materials at the National University of Singapore, added: “In the search for revolutionary and disruptive new technologies, van der Waals heterostructures and devices based on two dimensional materials emerge as major players.
“This review covers the latest developments in one of the fastest growing fields that bridges science, materials science, and engineering.”