New 2D Materials Breakthrough Signals Revolution in Electronics Production

An old dream shared between organic chemists and surface scientists discovered a revolutionary new way of creating 2D structures that may revolutionize the production of electronics.
Brad Bergan

New findings from a team of researchers in Italy and Canada might signal a revolutionary moment in 2D materials science, causing major shifts in the way companies manufacture modern electronics, according to a study recently published in Nature Materials.


New 2D materials science on the horizon

The aim of the study was to develop 2D materials of only one atomic layer thick, with added features to extend this development into materials science hailing back to the discovery of graphene in 2004.

The study comes from 16 authors associated with McGill, INRS, Lakehead, and Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy's national research council.

The recent study opens the door for new developments, both experimental and theoretical. Once the new system is integrated into a device (like transistors), we may see exceptional and unprecedented levels of electrical performance. Moreover, these developments will enable future studies across a vast spectrum of 2D conjugated polymers with varying lattice symmetries — which will yield crucial insight into the properties-versus-structure dimension of the new systems.

New materials science from complementary expertise 

The Italian and Canadian team showed the synthesis of large-scale 2D conjugated polymers, and thoroughly characterized their electronic properties. Their success came from bringing uniquely complementary sets of expertise together — organic chemists and surface scientists.

"This work represents an exciting development in the realization of functional two-dimensional materials beyond graphene," said Mark Gallagher, a professor of physics at Lakehead University, reports "I found it particularly rewarding to participate in this collaboration, which allowed us to combine our expertise in organic chemistry, condensed matter physics, and materials science to achieve our goals."

2D polymers could revolutionize electronics production

Dmytro Perepichka, a professor and chair of Chemistry at McGill University, also noted that this research has been ongoing for a long time. "Structurally reconfigurable two-dimensional conjugated polymers can give a new breadth to applications of two-dimensional materials in electronics," said Perepichka.

"We started dreaming of them more than 15 years ago," he added. "It's only through this four-way collaboration, across the country and between the continents, that this dream has become the reality."

A professor at the Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre of the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS) in Varennes named Federico Rosei also noted the collective excitement surrounding the results of this successful and long-term collaboration.

"These results provide new insights into mechanisms of surface reactions at a fundamental level and simultaneously yield a novel material with outstanding properties, whose existence had only been predicted theoretically until now," added Rosei.

As researchers begin to realize the vast scope of advanced functionality made possible with 2D polymers beyond graphene, we should expect to see more long-held dreams of technological revolution come to fruition with the collaborative effort of increasingly interdisciplinary research. It's an exciting time to be alive.

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