A New Platform for the Controlled Design of Printed Electronics with 2D Materials | Imperial News
Scientists have shown how electricity is transported in 2D printed materials, paving the way for the design of flexible devices for healthcare and beyond.
A study published today in Electronic Nature, led by researchers at Imperial College London and Politecnico di Torino, reveals the physical mechanisms responsible for transporting electricity in two-dimensional (2D) printed materials.
Our results have a huge impact on how we understand transport through two-dimensional material networks. Doctor Felice Torrisi
The work identifies the properties of 2D material films that must be modified to manufacture custom electronic devices, enabling the rational design of a new class of high performance printed and flexible electronics.
Silicon chips are the components that power most of our electronic devices, from fitness trackers to smartphones. However, their rigid nature limits their use in flexible electronics. Comprised of layers only one atom thick, 2D materials can be dispersed in solution and formulated into printable inks, producing ultra-thin films that are extremely flexible, semi-transparent and have new electronic properties.
This opens up the possibility of new types of devices, such as those that can be embedded in flexible and stretchable materials, like clothing, paper or even tissue in the human body.
Controlled design and engineering
Previously, researchers had built several flexible electronic devices from 2D printed inks, but these were unique “proof of concept” components, designed to show how a particular property, such as high electron mobility , light detection or charge storage can be achieved.
However, without knowing which parameters to control to design 2D printed material devices, their widespread use has been limited. Today, the international research team investigated how electronic charge is transported in several inkjet printed films of 2D materials, showing how it is controlled by changes in temperature, magnetic field, and electric field.
The team studied three typical types of 2D materials: graphene (a “semi-metal” built from a single layer of carbon atoms), molybdenum disulfide (or MoS2, a ‘semiconductor’) and MXene titanium carbide (or Ti3VS2, a metal) and mapped how the behavior of electric charge transport changed under these different conditions.
These future devices could one day replace invasive procedures, such as implanting brain electrodes to monitor degenerative conditions that affect the nervous system. The electrodes can only be implanted temporarily and are uncomfortable for the patient, while a flexible device made of biocompatible 2D materials could be integrated into the brain and provide constant monitoring.
Principal Investigator Dr Felice Torrisi, Imperial’s Department of Chemistry, said: “Our findings have a huge impact on how we understand transport through arrays of two-dimensional materials, not only enabling the design and controlled engineering of future printed electronics. based on 2D materials, but also new types of flexible electronic devices.
“For example, our work paves the way for reliable wearable devices suitable for biomedical applications, such as remote patient monitoring, or bio-implantable devices for long-term monitoring of degenerative diseases or healing processes. “
Other potential healthcare applications include wearable devices for monitoring healthcare – devices like fitness watches, but more integrated into the body, providing data precise enough to allow physicians to monitor patients without get them to the hospital for tests.
The relationships the team discovered between 2D material type and electric charge transport controls will help other researchers design printed and flexible 2D material devices with the properties they want, depending on how that they need the electric charge to act.
They could also reveal how to design entirely new types of electrical components that cannot be used with silicon chips, such as transparent components or components that modify and transmit light in new ways.
Co-author Prof. Renato Gonnelli, Politecnico di Torino, Italy, said: “The fundamental understanding of how electrons are transported through arrays of 2D materials underpins the way we make components. electronic printed matter. By identifying the mechanisms responsible for such electronic transport, we will be able to achieve the optimal design of high performance printed electronics.
Co-first author Adrees Arbab, Imperial and Cambridge Graphene Center chemistry departments, said: “In addition, our study may pioneer new electronic and optoelectronic devices exploiting the innovative properties of graphene and other materials. 2D, high mobility, optical transparency and mechanical resistance.
“Charge transport mechanisms in inkjet-printed thin film transistors based on two-dimensional materials” by Erik Piatti, Adrees Arbab et al. is published in Electronic Nature.