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From super-lubricants, to solar cells, to the fledgling technology of valleytronics, there is much to be excited about with the discovery of a unique new 2-D semiconductor, rhenium disulfide, by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)’s Molecular Foundry. Rhenium disulfide, unlike molybdenum disulfide and other dichalcogenides, behaves electronically as if it were a 2-D monolayer even as a 3-D bulk material. This not only opens the door to 2-D electronic applications with a 3-D material, it also makes it possible to study 2-D physics with easy-to-make 3-D crystals.

“Rhenium disulfide remains a direct-bandgap semiconductor, its photoluminescence intensity increases while its Raman spectrum remains unchanged, even with the addition of increasing numbers of layers,” says Junqiao Wu, a physicist with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Div. who led this discovery. “This makes bulk crystals of rhenium disulfide an ideal platform for probing 2-D excitonic and lattice physics, circumventing the challenge of preparing large-area, single-crystal monolayers.”

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