It is usually possible to make well-controlled interfaces when two materials have similar crystal structures, yet the ability to combine materials with different crystal structures has lacked the accurate design rules that increasingly exists in other areas of materials chemistry.
The design and formation of an atomic-scale bridge between different materials will lead to new and improved physical properties, opening the path to new information technology and energy science applications amongst a myriad of science and engineering possibilities – for example, atoms could move faster at the interface between the materials, enabling better batteries and fuel cells.
Many devices, for example a transistor or blue LED, rely on the creation of very clean, well-ordered interfaces between different materials to work.
Liverpool Materials Chemist, Professor Matthew Rosseinsky, said: “When we try to fit materials together at the atomic scale, we are used to using the sizes of the atoms to decide which combinations of materials will “work” i.e. will produce a continuous well-ordered interface.
Learn more: Scientists bridge different materials by design