April 23, 2024

The SMART discoveries allow a new way of controlling light emission from materials.

Researchers from the Low Energy Electronic Systems interdisciplinary research group at SMART (MIT’s research enterprise in Singapore) and MIT and NUS have found a new way of controlling light emission from materials.

Modern technologies have been driven by the ability to control the properties of materials. This includes solar panels, computers, smart cars, and hospital lifesaving equipment. Materials’ properties are usually adjusted based on their structure and composition. Most practical devices that produce light or generate light layers of materials from different designs can take much work to grow.

The breakthrough of SMART researchers and their collaborators offers a paradigm-shifting way to tune the optical properties of technologically relevant materials. This is done by changing the twist angle between stacked film layers at room temperature. These findings could enormously impact many applications in the medical and biological fields and quantum information. Their research was presented in a paper titled “Tunable Optical Properties Of Thin Films Controlled By the Interface Twist Angle,” published inĀ Nano Letters.

“Unique superconductivity” is one of many new phenomena discovered. This can be achieved by stacking layers of thin, atomically-thin materials at an angle. Professor Silvija Gradecak, the principal investigator at Smart LEES and corresponding author of this paper, says. The existing methods are laborious and focus on thin monolayers of film stacking. Our discovery applies to thicker films, making materials discovery easier.

Their research could also help develop fundamental physics for “twistronics,” which studies how the angle between two-dimensional layers can affect their electrical properties. Gradecak points to the fact that most of this field’s research has focused on stacking monolayers. This requires careful exfoliation and can result in relaxation from a twisted condition, which may limit their practical application. This breakthrough twist-related phenomenon could also apply to thick film systems, which are simple to manipulate and can be used in industrially relevant applications.

“Our experiments revealed that the same phenomenon that leads to the formation of moire superlattices within two-dimensional systems can also be used to tune optical properties of three-dimensional bulk-like hexagonal boron nitride (3BN) even at room temperature,” Hae Yeon Lee (lead author and MIT materials science and engineering Ph.D. student), said. We found that the relative twist angles and intensities of thick, stacked hBN films can be adjusted to control their power and color.

These research results offer a new way of controlling the optical properties of thin films that are not controlled by conventional structures. This is especially important for medical, environmental, or information technology applications.

SMART conducted the research, supported by the National Research Foundation of Singapore (NRF) under its Campus for Research Excellence And Technological Enterprise program (CREATE).

LEES is developing new integrated circuit technologies which increase functionality, reduce power consumption and provide higher performance for electronic devices. The future integrated circuits will significantly impact wireless communications, power electronics, LED lighting, displays, and other areas. LEES has a vertically-integrated research team possessing expertise in materials, devices, and circuits, comprising multiple individuals with professional experience within the semiconductor industry. This allows the research to target the specific needs of the semiconductor industry in Singapore and worldwide.

MIT and the NRF created SMART in 2007 in partnership. SMART was the first entity to be included in CREATE. SMART is an intellectual and innovation center for cutting-edge research projects that interest Singaporeans and MIT. It comprises an Innovation Center and five interdisciplinary research groups: Antimicrobial Resistance, Critical Analytics for Manufacturing Personalized-Medicine, Disruptive and Sustainable Technologies for Agricultural Precision, Future Urban Mobility, and LEES.

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