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nanoribbon growth enabled by Ni
Illustration of nanoribbon growth enabled by Ni


Honda Research Institute Synthesizes Nanomaterials — A Breakthrough For Quantum Electronics?

Honda Research Institute USA (HRI-US) is doing some pretty interesting things in the field of quantum electronics. Scientists from HRI-US were able to successfully synthesize atomically thin nanoribbons. HRI noted that these are materials with atomic-scale thickness and a ribbon shape. These nanoribbons have broad implications for the future of quantum electronics, which is an area of physics that focuses on the effects of quantum mechanics on the behavior of electrons in matter.

According to the press release, “HRI-US’s synthesis of an ultra-narrow two-dimensional material built of a single or double layer of atoms demonstrated the ability to control the width of these two-dimensional materials to sub-10 nanometer (10-9 meter) that results in quantum transport behavior at much higher temperatures compared to those grown using current methods.”

The scientists along with collaborations from both Columbia University and Rice University as well as Oak Ridge National Laboratory co-authored a new paper on this topic and published it in Science Advances.

This technology has the potential to bring quantum computing and sensing to higher temperatures than those required with materials currently in use. So far, the common fabrication methods rely on techniques such as nanolithography. This either prints or etches nanometer-scale structures.

HRI-US scientists have developed a way to grow the materials controllably by using nickel nanoparticles as a seed to control the width of two-dimensional materials. One example mentioned is molybdenum disulfide (MoS 2), an inorganic compound made up of molybdenum and sulfur. The mineral molybdenite is silvery black and is the principal ore for molybdenum. This particular compound is usually used in greases for bit lubrications.

The two-dimensional materials that were grown by the researchers were around 7-8 nanometers and show quantum electron transport (Coulomb blockade oscillations) at temperatures of around 60 K or -213oC.

Dr. Avetik Harutyunyan, senior chief scientist at HRI-US and the corresponding author of the paper published in Science Advances, shared some thoughts about the new growth technology:

“Our novel growth technology introduces the width as an additional degree of freedom in the atomically thin layered materials revealing and engineering their rich new electronic behaviors. The potential applications are extremely broad. We see immediate opportunities for the applications in the high speed, low-energy consumption electronics, spintronics, quantum sensing, quantum, and neuromorphic computing.”

Senior scientist at HRI-US and lead author of the paper Dr. Xufan Li added:

 “This new synthesis technology represents an important breakthrough in the field of growth of 2D materials. We were able to achieve atomic-scale control over MoS2 nanoribbon width by using Ni nanoparticles as a seed that enables nanoribbon growth via vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) mechanism. Next, we are thinking to control the edge structures of nanoribbons another way to amend their electronic properties.”

Featured image courtesy of HRI-USA.

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