Artificial graphene seen as material to bring technological advances

Feb. 14, 2014 at 7:23 PM
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LUXEMBOURG, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Physicists in Europe say they've produced a new material, an "artificial graphene," that could bring about a technological revolution.

The artificial graphene made from traditional semiconductor materials could lead to faster, smaller and lighter electronic and optical devices, including higher performance photovoltaic cells, lasers or LED lighting, researchers at the University of Luxembourg reported Friday.

Graphene, a one-atom-thick honeycomb lattice of carbon atoms, is a strong, flexible, conducting and transparent material with significant scientific and technological potential.

The artificial graphene has the same honeycomb structure but instead of carbon atoms, nanometer-thick semiconductor crystals are used.

Modifying the size, shape and chemical nature of the nano-crystals makes it possible to tailor the material to a specific task, the researchers said.

"Artificial graphene opens the door to a wide variety of materials with variable nano-geometry and 'tunable' properties," Ludger Wirtz, head of the Theoretical Solid-State Physics group at the University of Luxembourg, said.

The research has been published in the journal Physical Review X.

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