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Liquid metal breakthrough ushers new wave of electronics

Liquid metal breakthrough ushers new wave of electronics

   Image: Image of a liquid metal "slug" and its clear atom-thick "trail" shows the breakthrough in action. Image credit: Peter Clarke, RMIT University.

RMIT researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence in for Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies (FLEET) have used liquid metal to create two-dimensional materials no thicker than a few atoms that have never before been seen in nature.

ARC-funded researcher, Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, and Dr Torben Daeneke, from RMIT’s School of Engineering, have led the research, working with students who have been experimenting with the method for the last 18 months. Together, they have discovered a process to create atomically thin flakes of materials that don't naturally exist as layered structures, which is so cheap and simple that it could be done on a kitchen stove by a non-scientist.

The breakthrough discovery has huge implications for chemistry and could be applied to enhance data storage and make faster electronics.

Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh said that the discovery now places previously unseen thin oxide materials into everyday reach, with profound implications for future technologies.

“We predict that the developed technology applies to approximately one-third of the periodic table. Many of these atomically thin oxides are semiconducting or dielectric materials.

“Semiconducting and dielectric components are the foundation of today’s electronic and optical devices. Working with atomically thin components is expected to lead to better, more energy efficient electronics. This technological capability has never been accessible before.”

The breakthrough could also be applied to catalysis, the basis of the modern chemical industry, reshaping how we make all chemical products including medicines, fertilisers and plastics.

Media issued by the RMIT University and ARC Centre of Excellence in for Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies.

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