Purdue University
Wenzhuo Wu

Accidental Discovery: Two-Dimensional Nanomaterial for Electronics

Sept. 8, 2020
Researchers at Purdue University use tellurium to create a nanomaterial that can be used in high-performance electronics.

Purdue University researchers are working to take a new two-dimensional nanomaterial to market for use in nanoelectronics, quantum devices and infrared technology that are commonly used in national defense tools and biochemical sensors.

The Purdue team used the thin, durable-structured element tellurium to create the nanomaterial.

Tellurium is not abundant on the Earth’s crust, but Wenzhuo Wu, an assistant professor and recipient of Purdue’s Ravi and Eleanor Talwar Rising Star Professorship in Industrial Engineering, said only a small amount is needed to be synthesized through their solution method. The nanomaterial, called tellurene, is air-stable and can grow without the help of another substance.

“Recent advances have led to new electronic and photonic device paradigms leveraging 2D materials, which have an atomically thin thickness, but their length and width are much larger than that thickness,” Wu said in a press release. “Our solution helps overcome roadblocks for known 2D materials to meet the technological needs in emerging areas such as nanoelectronics or mid-infrared integrated photonics.”

Tellurene has several potential applications, including high-speed electronics, wearable sensors, quantum devices and infrared technology.

Wu said he and the students discovered their solution by accident while they were conducting routine experiments in the laboratory. Since their discovery of tellurene, Wu and his team have published more than a dozen papers on the properties and device applications of the nanomaterial.

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