Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have created a new theoretical framework which could help physicists and device engineers design better optoelectronics, leading to less heat generation and power consumption in electronic devices which source, detect, and control light.
Speaking about the research, which enables scientists and engineers to quantify how transparent a 2D material is to an electrostatic field, Dr Elton Santos from the Atomistic Simulation Research Centre at Queen’s, said: “In our paper we have developed a theoretical framework that predicts and quantifies the degree of ‘transparency’ up to the limit of one-atom-thick, 2D materials, to an electrostatic field.
“Imagine we can change the transparency of a material just using an electric bias, e.g. get darker or brighter at will. What kind of implications would this have, for instance, in mobile phone technologies? This was the first question we asked ourselves. We realised that this would allow the microscopic control over the distribution of charged carriers in a bulk semiconductor (e.g. traditional Si microchips) in a nonlinear manner. This will help physicists and device engineers to design better quantum capacitors, an array of subatomic power storage components capable to keep high energy densities, for instance, in batteries, and vertical transistors, leading to next-generation optoelectronics with lower power consumption and dissipation of heat (cold devices), and better performance. In other words, smarter smart phones.”
Explaining how the theory could have important implications for future work in the area, Dr Santos added: “Our current model simply considers an interface formed between a layer of 2D material and a bulk semiconductor. In principle, our approach can be readily extended to a stack of multiple 2D materials, or namely, van der Waals heterostructures recently fabricated. This will allow us to design and predict the behaviour of these cutting-edge devices in prior to actual fabrication, which will significantly facilitate developments for a variety of applications. We will have an in silico search for the right combination of different 2D crystals while reducing the need for expensive lab work and test trials.”
Further information on the Atomistic Simulation Research Centre at Queen’s is available online at http://titus.phy.qub.ac.uk/
A team of UK researchers, including experts from Cardiff University’s Cardiff Catalysis Institute, have shown that significant amounts of hydrogen can be unlocked from fescue grass with the help of sunlight and a cheap catalyst.
It is the first time that this method has been demonstrated and could potentially lead to a sustainable way of producing hydrogen, which has enormous potential in the renewable energy industry due to its high energy content and the fact that it does not release toxic or greenhouse gases when it is burnt.
Co-author of the study Professor Michael Bowker, from the Cardiff Catalysis Institute, said: “This really is a green source of energy.
“Hydrogen is seen as an important future energy carrier as the world moves from fossil fuels to renewable feedstocks, and our research has shown that even garden grass could be a good way of getting hold of it.”
Queen’s University Belfast is a public research university in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The university’s official title, per its charter, is The Queen’s University of Belfast. It is often referred to simply as Queen’s, or by the abbreviation QUB. The university was chartered in 1845, and opened in 1849 as “Queen’s College, Belfast”, but has roots going back to 1810 and the Royal Belfast Academical Institution.
Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group of leading research intensive universities, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the European University Association, Universities Ireland and Universities UK. The university offers academic degrees at various levels and across a broad subject range, with over 300 degree programmes available. Professor Patrick Johnston is the University’s 12th President and Vice-Chancellor since 1 March 2014, and its Chancellor is the current Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations, Kamalesh Sharma.
The University also forms the focal point of the Queen’s Quarter area of the city, one of Belfast’s seven cultural districts.
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Queen’s University Belfast research articles from Innovation Toronto
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