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Figure 1 Atomic structure of indium selenide (InSe)

After a decade of intensive research on graphene and two-dimensional materials, a newly discovered semiconductor material shows great potential for application in ultrafast electronic devices! This new semiconductor material is indium selenide (InSe)! Indium selenide (InSe) is only a few atoms thick, similar to graphene. Researchers who are from the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham report this week’s study in Nature Nanotechnology.

Graphene is only one atom thick and has unparalleled electronic properties, so people have high hopes for its application in electronic devices. But there is a serious problem: graphene has no energy gap. Graphene behaves more like a metal than a semiconductor, greatly hampering its potential for transistor-type applications.

Figure 2 Two-dimensional indium selenide device

New research shows that InSe crystals are only a few atoms thick, almost as thin as graphene. InSe has been shown to have superior electrical properties than silicon, which is commonly used in modern electronics. Importantly, unlike graphene, but similar to silicon, the ultrathin indium selenide material has a large energy gap, allowing transistors to be easily switched and used to prepare high-speed electronic devices.

Combining graphene with other new materials with unique properties that complement graphene’s extraordinary properties has led to exciting technological advances and could lead to applications beyond our imagination.

Sir Andre Geim, who won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of graphene, is one of the authors of this study. Professor Heim believes that the newly discovered ultra-thin semiconductor of indium selenide may significantly impact the development of future electronics.

“Ultra-thin indium selenide InSe is like the golden section between silicon and graphene materials. Similar to graphene, InSe has an ultra-thin structure that allows it to be scaled to nanometer size; at the same time, similar to silicon, indium selenide InSe is another very good semiconductor.

The difficulty facing researchers is how to prepare high-quality indium selenide electronic devices. Because indium selenide is so thin, it is easily damaged quickly by oxygen and moisture in the atmosphere. To avoid this damage, the researchers used a new technique developed at the National Graphene Institute to prepare the electronic devices in an argon atmosphere.

Figure 3 Carrier mobility of indium selenide film

People have prepared a high-quality atomic-level indium selenide film for the first time using this technology. Its electron mobility at room temperature reaches 2,000cm2/Vs, significantly higher than silicon materials. This value will increase at lower temperatures.

In the laboratory, people have prepared indium selenide materials of several microns, which are equivalent to the cross-section of human hair. The researchers believe that indium selenide could also soon be produced commercially by leveraging existing methods widely used to produce large-area graphene sheets.

Professor Vladimir Falko, author of the NGI-related paper and director of the UK’s National Graphene Institute, said: “The technology developed by NGI to separate atomic-layer materials into high-quality two-dimensional crystals provides huge opportunities for finding new optoelectronic materials. We will Constant attempts are made to find new layered materials. Ultrathin indium selenide (InSe) is an ever-expanding two-dimensional crystal family member.

The study of graphene and related two-dimensional materials is the most advanced area of materials research, spanning science and engineering.

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