Semi-transparent gadgets is now possible

Semi-transparent, flexible electronics are no longer
just science-fiction thanks to researchers who can now produce transparent LEDs
at an atomic level that are powered by graphene. Published in the scientific
journal Nature Materials, University Manchester and University of Sheffield
researchers show that new 2D `designer materials’ can be produced to create
flexible, see-through and more efficient electronic devices.
The team, led by Nobel Laureate Sir Kostya Novoselov,
made the breakthrough by creating LEDs which were engineered on an atomic
level. The new research shows that graphene and related 2D materials could be utilized
to create light emitting devices for the next-generation of mobile phones,
tablets and televisions to make them incredibly thin, flexible, durable and
even semi-transparent.
The LED device was constructed by combining different
2D crystals and emits light from across its whole surface. Being so thin, at
only 10-40 atoms thick, these new components can form the basis for the first
generation of semitransparent smart devices. One-atom thick graphene was first
isolated and explored in 2004 at The University of Manchester. Its potential
uses are vast but one of the first areas in which products are likely to be
seen is in electronics. Other 2D materials, such as boron nitiride and
molybdenum disulphide, have since been discovered opening up vast new areas of
research and applications possibilities.
By building heterostructures ­ stacked layers of
various 2D materials ­ to create bespoke functionality and introducing quantum
wells to control the movement of electrons, new possibilities for graphene
based optoelectronics have now been realised. “As our new type of LED’s only
consist of a few atomic layers of 2D materials they are flexible and
transparent. We envisage a new generation of optoelectronic devices to stem
from this work, from simple transparent lighting and lasers and to more complex
applications,” said Freddie Withers, from the University of Manchester, who led
the production of the devices.
“By preparing the heterostructures on elastic and
transparent substrates, we show that they can provide the basis for flexible
and semi-transparent electronics,“ said explaining the creation of the LED
device Sir Kostya Novoselov. “The range of functionalities for the demonstrated
heterostructures is expected to grow further on increasing the number of
available 2D crystals and improving their electronic quality.”

“The novel LED structures are robust and show no
significant change in performance over many weeks of measurements,” added Professor
Alexander Tartakovskii, from The University of Sheffield.

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