14 February 2017

Franckeite as a Naturally Occurring van der Waals Heterostructure

Article: published in Nature Communications by Gabino Rubio-Bollinger, Nicolas Agraït and J. J. Palacios, IFIMAC researchers and members of the Department of Condensed Matter Physics.

Franckeite as a Naturally Occurring van der Waals Heterostructure

The fabrication of van der Waals heterostructures, artificial materials assembled by individual stacking of 2D layers, is among the most promising directions in 2D materials research. Until now, the most widespread approach to stack 2D layers relies on deterministic placement methods, which are cumbersome and tend to suffer from poor control over the lattice orientations and the presence of unwanted interlayer adsorbates. A collaboration between different institutions, which includes two IFIMAC groups, has recently published in Nature Comm. a different approach to fabricate ultra thin heterostructures by exfoliation of bulk franckeite, which is a naturally occurring and air stable van der Waals heterostructure (composed of alternating SnS2-like and PbS-like layers stacked on top of each other). Presenting both an attractive narrow band gap (0.7 eV) and p-type doping, the researchers have found that the material can be exfoliated both mechanically and chemically down to few-layer thicknesses. Extensive theoretical and experimental characterizations of the material’s electronic properties and crystal structure, and a preliminary exploration of applications for near-infrared photodetectors have also been reported in the same publication. [Full article]

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