Department of Physics graduate student Anthony Ruth has been selected as a recipient of the 2015 NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship (NSTRF15). His application was titled, “Hybrid Van Der Waals materials in next-generation electronics.”
Ruth’s project was inspired by recent developments in the field of two dimensional materials. One example of such a material is graphene, which consists of a single two dimensional layer of carbon atoms, and shows extraordinary electrical, optical and mechanical properties (see the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics). More recently, the materials science community started synthesizing graphene-like, atomically-thin single layer materials, such as silicene (silicon layer), germanene (germanium layer), MoS2 (molibdenum disulfide), MoSe2 (molibdenum diselenide), h-BN (hexaboron nitride), and so on.
Ruth will use density functional theory methods to look into what happens when these single atomic layers are stacked onto each other. Such layered structures are expected to form stable materials called Van Der Waals solids. Given their highly two-dimensional nature, the large number of stacking orders and combinations between the layers, the Van Der Waals solids will provide a wide range of materials with unusual electrical, optical, thermal and/or mechanical properties. These materials have great potential to be incorporated in novel catalytic, opto-electronic devices and detectors operating under extreme conditions typical of NASA missions.
Ruth is advised by Prof. Boldizsar Janko.
Originally published by physics.nd.edu on April 22, 2015.at