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April 20th 2019

Within this programme, physicists from Utrecht University, Delft University of Technology and Eindhoven University of Technology will carry out research into the effect of nanostructuring on electronic materials. They will specifically examine traditional two-dimensional semiconductors with nanostructuring in the form of a honeycomb.

The honeycomb has been a popular research subject since the discovery of graphene: a single layer of carbon atoms with a honeycomb shape. With the new programme researchers hope to apply such a honeycomb lattice to known semiconductors. A recent theory predicts that the addition of the honeycomb will change the band structure of the semiconductor, which determines where energy bands and 'forbidden zones' for the electrons are located. Therefore, through the nanostructuring the researchers can design new semiconductor materials. These materials can possibly be used in solar cells or extremely small and fast transistors, for example.

The honeycomb needed should preferably have a periodicity of less than 10 nanometres (10 billionths of a metre). The current methods, such as nanolithography, are not capable of manufacturing such a fine periodicity. Physicists in the research programme therefore want to develop the technology with which nanocrystals spontaneously attached to each other and organise themselves into a fine honeycomb structure. They will do this by building further on a previous discovery of programme leader prof.dr. Vanmaekelbergh.

Vanmaekelbergh: "The new characteristics predicted for semiconductors with a honeycomb structure are quite simply spectacular. The FOM programme now gives us the opportunity to further perfect honeycomb structures and with the help of various types of experiments to measure the electronic characteristics and relate these to the known the nanogeometry".

This programme is a collaboration between:
- Utrecht University: Prof.dr. D. Vanmaekelbergh, Dr. I. Swart, Dr. M. van Huis and Prof.dr. C. Morais Smith;
- Delft University of Technology: Prof.dr. L.D.A. Siebbeles, Prof.dr. H.S.J. van der Zant and Dr. A.R. Akhmerov;
- Eindhoven University of Technology: Prof.dr. P.M. Koenraad.