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WIMI Hologram AR Plans To Invest In R&D in The Chip Field To Seek Technological Breakthroughs

Posted By Graphene Council, Friday, July 10, 2020
WIMI Hologram Cloud (NASDAQ:WIMI) has intensified its efforts in semiconductor business. On the one hand, the application demand of the semiconductor industry in the field of holographic 3D vision has been growing rapidly. On the other hand, it will help the company extend the holographic 3D vision software field from the application layer down to the chip field, and through the strategic direction of combining soft and hard holographic 3D vision software solution, namely, the strategic derivative upgrade to the semiconductor field. WIMI deep in the field of holographic 3 d visual software technology accumulation, with hundreds of related patents and software copyright, so in the direction of semiconductor business extends, and the future is proposed by integrating companies core technology advantages of IC design companies, or with the current chip factory set up a technology research and development with strong proxy technology joint venture company, to implement the supply chain upstream of the semiconductor research and development design, technical services, marketing, etc.

WIMI, the holographic giant that is the first part of holographic AR in the world, has created the third-generation 6D light field holographic technology products through years of original research and development, and its imitation is as high as 98%. WIMI has signed strategic alliances with relevant enterprises, and the scope of cooperation involves film and television, media, games, children’s education, animation, hardware and so on. It mainly involves the establishment of joint ventures, AR INTELLECTUAL property IP, holographic intellectual property IP and holographic entertainment content IP cooperation, as well as various commercial resource sharing and so on. WIMI will form hundreds of patent protection according to its own 295 related patents, and ensure that users can experience the latest and most advanced holographic AR high simulation digital product experience at the international level through strict patent protection means and technical confidentiality. At present, WIMI mainly focuses its business application scenarios in five professional fields, such as home entertainment, lightfield cinema, performing arts system, commercial publishing system and advertising display system.

According to introducing, WIMI cover from the holographic AI computer vision synthesis, holographic visual presentation, holographic interactive software development, holographic AR online and offline advertising, holographic ARSDK pay, 5G holographic communication software development, holographic development of face recognition, holographic AR technology such as holographic AI development in face of multiple links, holographic cloud is a comprehensive technology solutions provider.

According to a post on Samsung’s website, the company has taken a step toward the “ideal semiconductor” by discovering new semiconductor materials that will make future semiconductor chips smaller and faster. The Samsung Institute of Electronics and Technology recently said it had discovered a new material, “amorphous boron nitride (A-BN)”, in collaboration with Ulsan Institute of Technology. The discovery comes 16 years after a team at the University of Manchester in the UK found graphene to be an “ideal new material”.

The article on Samsung’s official website says the key to solving the challenge of semiconductor materials is to look at two-dimensional materials. One of the challenges based on existing silicon semiconductor technology is “increasing integration”. As integration increases, more information can be processed quickly, but technical problems such as interference between electrical circuits also arise. Two-dimensional materials are becoming the key to solving the industry’s woes, so they are attracting a lot of attention. The two-dimensional material has the properties of a conductor, non-conductor or semiconductor at even the smallest atomic units of matter, and is so thin and difficult to bend that it is about 100,000th the thickness of A4 paper.

The most representative of these is graphene. For many years, The Samsung Electronics Technology Institute has been researching and developing graphene for large-scale semiconductor manufacturing applications. Based on this source technology, they have recently focused on graphene for wiring. As semiconductors become more integrated, the lines between the circuits become narrower and the impedance increases. This is due to graphene’s compact hexagonal structure, which ACTS as the thinest, hardest and resistive barrier.

Amorphous boron nitride is a derivative of white graphene. It consists of nitrogen and boron atoms, but has an amorphous molecular structure that separates it from white graphene. In addition, in order to miniaturize the semiconductor, it is regarded as one of the core elements of the medium. It is one of the key elements of the semiconductor miniaturization and can play a role in preventing electrical interference. In other words, it is the key to overcoming the problem of electromagnetic interference as semiconductors become more integrated. “In order to apply graphene to semiconductor engineering, it requires technology that can be generated directly on silicon wafers at 400°C,” said Shin Hyun Jin, a researcher at Samsung Electronics Research Institute.

The team not only ensured the lowest dielectric constant of 1.78 in the world, but also demonstrated that the material could be produced on a large scale in a semiconductor substrate at 400°C, thus taking a step towards process innovation. Amorphous boron nitride can be used in semiconductor systems including memory semiconductors (DRAM, NAND, etc.) and is expected to be used in memory semiconductors for server servers that require high performance.

A semiconductor is a substance whose conductivity is intermediate between that of a conductor and an insulator. Compared with conductors and insulators, semiconductor materials are the latest to be discovered. It was not until the 1930s, when purification techniques for materials were improved, that the existence of semiconductors was truly recognized by academia. Semiconductor is mainly composed of four parts: integrated circuit, photoelectric device, discrete device and sensor. Since integrated circuit accounts for more than 80% of the share of devices, semiconductor and integrated circuit are usually equivalent. Integrated circuits are divided into four categories according to product types: microprocessor, memory, logic devices and emulators. Usually we call them chips.

At present, many technology giant qualcomm, mediatek, nvidia and other related companies in artificial intelligence, 5G, the Internet of things, and other areas of the chain are layout, the demand for upstream suppliers is no longer a simple electronic components or products supply, to the supplier’s technical service ability, providing comprehensive solution ability, and one-stop value-added service ability are put forward higher requirements.

Holographic technology is simply through AR, let the audience can watch the holographic characters or open hole in the real scene of real reduction, simulation is as high as 98% above, immersive, micro user experience can be described with stunning beauty holographic patterns, the combination of the holographic technology and entertainment viewer can become a character in the movie/stage, involved in the film/stage pre-made environment and plot, let the viewer, as it were, feel oneself is a member of a movie/stage viewer is the main character in the movie or a part of it, and continue to interact with content to produce films/stage.

Analysts at Maxim Group, LLC have a ‘buy’ rating on WIMI with a $8 price target, meaning the stock has 200% upside. According to Maxim Group, LLC equity research on WIMI, WIMI is the leader in the augmented reality (AR) long-term growth market. Zion Research expects the global augmented reality (AR) market to grow at a compound annual rate of more than 63% by 2025. Companies are increasingly using augmented reality for a variety of purposes. Frost &; Sullivan expects the total revenue of China’s holographic AR industry to grow by 83 percent, from 3.6 billion yuan (about $5 billion) in 2017 to 455 billion yuan (about $65 billion) in 2025.

According to the annual report, WIMI business began to expand gradually in 2017, with revenues of 192 million yuan, 225 million yuan and 319 million yuan in 17-19, with growth rates of 17% and 41%, showing an accelerating momentum. In terms of net profit, it was 73 million yuan, 89 million yuan and 102 million yuan respectively in 17-19 years.

From the above data WIMI, it is not difficult to see that the business growth of WIMI is in a benign development trend. From 2017 to 2019, the financial revenue of the three years has been increasing continuously. The amount of revenue generated from this market is increasing and the market expansion is expanding.

WIMI Hologram Cloud (NASDAQ:WIMI) will invest more funds, through to the longitudinal extension in the field of semiconductor, and the future of the integration of on semiconductor assets or cooperate with chip factory, will greatly improve the WIMI strength of technical services, further enhance viscosity related to the current customers, at the same time, based on a higher added value, enhance the WIMI sales ability of the company. WIMI plans to develop semiconductor market-related businesses in the next three years, and WIMI is expected to see new growth.

Throughout the past half century, the rapid development of semiconductors has provided the basis for our technological explosion. But developments in 5G seem to point the way. Looking back on the glorious history of semiconductor development, also to a certain extent represents the history of human civilization. If the development of machines liberated human labor, the development of semiconductors liberated human computing power.

Tags:  2D materials  amorphous boron nitride  Graphene  hexagonal  Maxim Group  Samsung Institute of Electronics and Technology  Semiconductor  Shin Hyun Jin  Ulsan Institute of Technology  University of Manchester  WIMI Hologram Cloud 

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Samsung Leads Semiconductor Paradigm Shift with New Material Discovery

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Researchers at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) have unveiled the discovery of a new material, called amorphous boron nitride (a-BN), in collaboration with Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) and the University of Cambridge. Published in the journal Nature, the study has the potential to accelerate the advent of the next generation of semiconductors.

2D Materials – The Key to Overcoming Scalability Challenges

Recently, SAIT has been working on the research and development of two-dimensional (2D) materials – crystalline materials with a single layer of atoms. Specifically, the institute has been working on the research and development of graphene, and has achieved groundbreaking research outcomes in this area such as the development of a new graphene transistor as well as a novel method of producing large-area, single-crystal wafer-scale graphene. In addition to researching and developing graphene, SAIT has been working to accelerate the material’s commercialization.

“To enhance the compatibility of graphene with silicon-based semiconductor processes, wafer-scale graphene growth on semiconductor substrates should be implemented at a temperature lower than 400°C.” said Hyeon-Jin Shin, a graphene project leader and Principal Researcher at SAIT. “We are also continuously working to expand the applications of graphene beyond semiconductors.”

2D Material Transformed – Amorphous Boron Nitride

The newly discovered material, called amorphous boron nitride (a-BN), consists of boron and nitrogen atoms with an amorphous molecule structure. While amorphous boron nitride is derived from white graphene, which includes boron and nitrogen atoms arranged in a hexagonal structure, the molecular structure of a-BN in fact makes it uniquely distinctive from white graphene.

Amorphous boron nitride has a best-in-class ultra-low dielectric constant of 1.78 with strong electrical and mechanical properties, and can be used as an interconnect isolation material to minimize electrical interference. It was also demonstrated that the material can be grown on a wafer scale at a low temperature of just 400°C. Thus, amorphous boron nitride is expected to be widely applied to semiconductors such as DRAM and NAND solutions, and especially in next generation memory solutions for large-scale servers.

“Recently, interest in 2D materials and the new materials derived from them has been increasing. However, there are still many challenges in applying the materials to existing semiconductor processes.” said Seongjun Park, Vice President and Head of Inorganic Material Lab, SAIT. “We will continue to develop new materials to lead the semiconductor paradigm shift.”

Tags:  2D Materials  Graphene  Hyeon-Jin Shin  journal Nature  Samsung  Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology  Semiconductor  Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology  University of Cambridge 

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U of G Researcher Developing Unique Coating for PPE to Prevent Spread of COVID-19

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Reusable face masks that help reduce the spread of COVID-19 are the goal of a novel nanotechnology-based research project at the University of Guelph supported by federal funding worth $50,000.

In what U of G  chemistry professor Aicheng Chen called one of a few such projects under way, he aims to develop unique anti-viral nanocomposites for ultra-thin coatings on face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect health-care workers and patients.

These thin coatings – to be made from a nano-scale material called graphene – may bind with the COVID-19-causing virus, disinfecting equipment to allow its reuse, said Chen.

He received a one-year, $50,000 award from the Alliance COVID-19 grant program of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). Chen is working with ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. based in Thunder Bay, Ont.

“We are aiming to develop graphene-based nanocomposites to be used as a new type of coating on equipment,” said Chen. “With this coating, we hope to disinfect the virus and reuse PPE or face masks.”

The novel coronavirus can spread through the air and on surfaces. With ongoing concerns about mask shortages and possible disease transmission from various surfaces, reusable face masks that prevent COVID-19 infection may help protect front-line health-care workers, he said.

As the lightest and thinnest material known, graphene is one-millionth of the thickness of a human hair. It’s produced from graphite, the type of carbon found in pencil “lead.”

At nanoscale, the lightweight 2-D material combines high strength, flexibility and conductivity. It holds promise for various applications, from electronics and batteries to sensors for detecting drug compounds in environmental or biological samples.

Chen will also study ways to modify graphene to improve its ability to bind with and disinfect the virus. He said nanomaterials (a nanometre is a billionth of a metre) have long been investigated for their anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

He has worked with ZEN Graphene Solutions since 2015 on earlier NSERC-funded projects.

Peter Wood, president of the company, said, “ZEN is excited to be collaborating with Professor Chen and his team in this project to develop an advanced filter with anti-viral properties that will help in the fight against COVID-19. If successful, the company is very interested in advancing the results in Canada, and several commercialization options are being considered.”

Tags:  2D materials  Aicheng Chen  COVID-19  Graphene  Healthcare  Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council   University of Guelph  ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd 

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2D Semiconductors Found to Be Close-To-Ideal Fractional Quantum Hall Platform

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Columbia University researchers report that they have observed a quantum fluid known as the fractional quantum Hall states (FQHS), one of the most delicate phases of matter, for the first time in a monolayer 2D semiconductor. Their findings demonstrate the excellent intrinsic quality of 2D semiconductors and establish them as a unique test platform for future applications in quantum computing. The study was published online today in Nature Nanotechnology.

“We were very surprised to observe this state in 2D semiconductors because it has generally been assumed that they are too dirty and disordered to host this effect,” says Cory Dean, professor of physics at Columbia University. “Moreover, the FQHS sequence in our experiment reveals unexpected and interesting new behavior that we’ve never seen before, and in fact suggests that 2D semiconductors are close-to-ideal platforms to study FQHS further.”

The fractional quantum Hall state is a collective phenomenon that comes about when researchers confine electrons to move in a thin two-dimensional plane, and subject them to large magnetic fields. First discovered in 1982, the fractional quantum Hall effect has been studied for more than 40 years, yet many fundamental questions still remain. One of the reasons for this is that the state is very fragile and appears in only the cleanest materials.

“Observation of the FQHS is therefore often viewed as a significant milestone for a 2D material—one that only the very cleanest electronic systems have reached,” notes Jim Hone, Wang Fong-Jen Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Columbia Engineering.

While graphene is the best known 2D material, a large group of similar materials have been identified over the past 10 years, all of which can be exfoliated down to a single layer thickness. One class of these materials is transition metal dichalcogenides (TMD), such as WSe2, the material used in this new study. Like graphene, they can be peeled to be atomically thin, but, unlike graphene, their properties under magnetic fields are much simpler. The challenge has been that the crystal quality of TMDs was not very good.

“Ever since TMD came on the stage, it was always thought of as a dirty material with many defects,” says Hone, whose group has made significant improvement to the quality of TMDs, pushing it to a quality near to graphene—often considered the ultimate standard of purity among 2D materials.

In addition to sample quality, studies of the semiconductor 2D materials have been hindered by the difficulties to make good electrical contact. To address this, the Columbia researchers have also been developing the capability to measure electronic properties by capacitance, rather than the conventional methods of flowing a current and measuring the resistance. A major benefit of this technique is that the measurement is less sensitive both to poor electrical contact and to impurities in the material. The measurements for this new study were performed under very large magnetic fields—which help to stabilize the FQHS—at the National High Magnetic Field Lab.

“The unique properties of these exotic particles could be used to design quantum computers that are protected from many sources of errors.”



"The fractional numbers that characterize the FQHS we observed—the ratios of the particle to magnetic flux number—follow a very simple sequence," says Qianhui Shi, the paper's first author and a postdoctoral researcher at the Columbia Nano Initiative. “The simple sequence is consistent with generic theoretical expectations, but all previous systems show more complex and irregular behavior. This tells us that we finally have a nearly ideal platform for the study of FQHS, where experiments can be directly compared to simple models.”

Among the fractional numbers, one of them has an even denominator. “Observing the fractional quantum Hall effect was itself surprising, seeing the even-denominator state in these devices was truly astonishing, since previously this state has only been observed in the very best of the best devices,” says Dean.

Fractional states with even denominators have received special attention since their first discovery in the late 1980s, since they are thought to represent a new kind of particle, one with quantum properties different from any other known particle in the universe. “The unique properties of these exotic particles,” notes Zlatko Papic, associate professor in theoretical physics at the University of Leeds, “could be used to design quantum computers that are protected from many sources of errors.”

So far, experimental efforts to both understand and exploit the even denominator states have been limited by their extreme sensitivity and the extremely small number of materials in which this state could be found. “This makes the discovery of the even denominator state in a new—and different—material platform, really very exciting,” Dean adds.

The two Columbia University laboratories—the Dean Lab and the Hone Group—worked in collaboration with the NIMS Japan, which supplied some of the materials, and Papic, whose group performed computational modelling of the experiments. Both Columbia labs are part of the university’s Material Research Science and Engineering Center. This project also used clean room facilities at both the Columbia Nano Initiative and City College. Measurements at large magnetic fields were made at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, a user facility funded by the National Science Foundation and headquartered at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fl.

Now that the researchers have very clean 2D semiconductors as well as an effective probe, they are exploring other interesting states that emerge from these 2D platforms.

Tags:  2D materials  Columbia Nano Initiative  Columbia University  Cory Dean  Graphene  Jim Hone  Nature Nanotechnology  Qianhui Shi  Semiconductor  transition metal dichalcogenides  Wang Fong-Jen 

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Scientists Use Light to Choreograph Electronic Motion in 2D Materials

Posted By Graphene Council, Monday, June 29, 2020
A team of scientists led by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley has demonstrated a powerful new technique that uses light to measure how electrons move and interact within materials. With this technique, the researchers observed exotic states of matter in stacks of atomically thin semiconductors called transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD) moiré superlattices.

Their study, which was published in the journal Nature, is the first to prove that interactions between electrons play a significant role in how charge flows in TMD moiré superlattices.

“Moiré superlattices provide a unique method for introducing exotic electronic behavior in materials where they don’t typically exist,” said lead author Emma Regan, a doctoral researcher in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and the UC Berkeley physics department. “Understanding and engineering electronic behavior in quantum materials may provide new approaches for electronic devices in the future.”

In most materials, electrons move fast and rarely interact. But in previous studies, other researchers have shown that a moiré superlattice – which creates an energy landscape for electrons – can slow the electrons down enough that they feel interactions between each other.

“We suspected that these electron-electron interactions in TMD moiré superlattices are very strong – even stronger than what you would find in stacks of graphene,” said Regan.

Typically, physicists investigate electron-electron interactions by attaching wires to a material and measuring how easily electrical current flows. But in stacks of TMDs, electrons don’t flow easily between the wires and the material, which makes it difficult to understand how the electrons interact.

So the researchers turned to light instead.

The research team, led by senior author Feng Wang, fabricated the TMD moiré superlattice from atomically thin layers of tungsten diselenide and tungsten disulfide – two common semiconductors known for their ability to efficiently absorb and emit light. They then formed a device just 25 nanometers (25 billionths of a meter) thick by sandwiching the tungsten diselenide/tungsten disulfide moiré superlattice between boron nitride and graphene.

In Wang’s ultrafast nano-optics lab, the researchers shone lasers on the TMD device to observe how electrons flowed in the superlattice as they varied the number of electrons injected into the material. Wang is a faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and professor of physics at UC Berkeley.

Tags:  2D materials  Emma Regan  Feng Wang  Graphene  Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  Semiconductors  UC Berkeley 

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Manchester MBAs identify opportunities for graphene

Posted By Graphene Council, Monday, June 29, 2020
The International Business Consultancy Project is the capstone of the Full-time MBA. Our MBAs work in multinational teams to pitch for a client with a global business challenge, then undertake three months of full-time consultancy with international travel. This year, one team worked with the University's Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) to identify new opportunities in the energy storage market.

Graphene was first isolated in 2004 by two researchers at The University of Manchester, Professor Andre Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov. Andre and Kostya won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their pioneering work. Graphene is the lightest, most conductable material on earth with potential applications across many fields - from medicine to energy. The project took our MBAs overseas to Germany, France, the USA and India. We caught up with them to find out more.

Why did you choose this client brief?

The Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) is an R&D facility at The University of Manchester, which focuses on driving the commercialisation of graphene and other 2D materials. The project aimed to provide a strategic market study to find potential market opportunities for GEIC in the Energy Storage Device (ESD) space (supercapacitors and batteries in particular).

We chose this project because it was very comprehensive: it included market research, partnership identification, financial modelling and projection. The team members could therefore utilise their different skill sets to contribute to the project. In addition, the energy storage device industry presented a new market for the team to explore and develop knowledge of.

How did you approach the brief?

The team used a 'bottom-up' approach instead of the traditional 'top down' methodology to analyse the key findings and provide recommendations. This idea came from our supervisor, Dr. Mike Arundale, who gave us a lot of support during the project. To be specific, the team produced a detailed case study of one specific company for each market segment, then made a projection for that segment and finally analysed the whole industry.

Which countries did you travel to and why?

Based on the secondary research, the team identified the USA, China, South Korea, Japan, India, Germany and France as the potential markets for GEIC to focus on and explore future partnership opportunities in. 45 interviews were held across Germany, France, the USA, China and India between February 6 and March 13, 2020. 

Due to the unexpected Coronavirus situation, in the end the team was only able to travel to the USA, India, Germany and France. This meant that 30 of the interviews were held face-to-face and 15 were conducted by conference call with Chinese, Japanese and South Korean companies.

What was the biggest challenge and what was the biggest achievement? 

 "At the initial stage, the biggest challenge was understanding the technical information and benefits of graphene. The biggest achievement was that we were able to understand the industry and reach the goal of finding potential partnerships for the client. It was a collaborative effort." - Lissete Flores, Peruvian

"The most challenging task was getting connections for primary research. My project was to search for partnerships for the client in three major markets: the USA, Europe and India. As we needed to build connections from scratch for face-to-face interviews or site visits, my team discussed how to ‘tackle’ interviewees strategically with the best professional practice in order to build professional relationships and get appointments for in-person interviews." 

"The biggest achievement was reaching out to potential partners for our client. Since our client's business is based on the licensing fee from partners, the potential deals are red blood being pumped to the heart of the business." - Pann Boonyavanich, Thai

"The biggest challenges were developing a good technical understanding of graphene as a 2D material and its numerous applications, which span multiple industries, and understanding the advantages of graphene and how it can be used in real-life applications. These elements were key to delivering the commercial aspects of the project. This became further challenging because the technology is quite nascent and there is not a lot of in-depth information available on the internet, which resulted in the team having to rely mostly on primary research."

"The biggest achievement was the team being able to successfully navigate the uncertainty brought on by the Covid-19 crisis and deliver on all the deliverables outlined in the project." - Ritwick Mukherjee, Indian

"For me, the biggest challenge was finding the relevant people to interview, getting them to agree to an interview and then fitting this into our travelling window. Some people were on annual leave and some could not meet with us for reasons related to Covid-19. Others did not reply till we were actually in the US, and a couple of companies worked with the US military and therefore most of their operational information was classified. Pann and I were on the east coast of the US and had to manage travelling and interviews in Boston, New York, Tennessee, Detroit and Chicago. Memorable journeys to interview potential partners include taking four flights in one day (a round trip from New York to Tennessee); and driving for six hours through a snowstorm to get to an interview in Chicago."

"The biggest achievement was realising during an interview that the company had synergies, problems or solutions that would match well with our client. It was very rewarding to be able to provide partnerships that would generate new revenue streams for our client and therefore justify their faith and investment in our team. Getting closer to each other and working well as a team was also a big achievement." - Timeyin Akerele, British-Nigerian

"Apart from the above mentioned by my team members, I also want to highlight that we had to change our interview plan entirely from China to Europe within just one week. We did the research again and identified Germany and France to replace the original destination, China, due to the unexpected Coronavirus situation. It was intensive to replan the interview travel and redo the budget, but it was also a valuable learning experience. This has motivated me to always be resilient when faced with uncertainties."

"The biggest achievements were, firstly, the team successfully helped the client find potential partners with detailed contacts for further discussion by using a new approach, the 'bottom-up' approach. Secondly, the team had a great chance to gain knowledge of the energy storage devices industry, and the value that advanced materials such as graphene can bring to the industry. Personally, I had no knowledge of this before." - Xingbo Wu, Chinese

What were the results and recommendations? 

The total market size of supercapacitor applications globally is worth around £2.27 billion in 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of ~20% between 2020-2030 and three key application industry segments: consumer electronics, automotive and power grid.

Companies that have an R&D gap that could be filled by graphene, in order to better meet customer demands, are potential partners for GEIC. For example, large manufacturers who lack supercapacitor product lines, or small manufacturers.

When targeting potential partnerships, the team recommended that GEIC should highlight its competitive position. GEIC is the only establishment offering capabilities in graphene, batteries, supercapacitors and biomedical fields, with a focus on both research and the commercialisation and scale-up of new technologies. 

How would you sum up your experience in three words?   

Lissete: Challenging - Teamwork - Fun

Pann: Dynamic - VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) - Exciting

Ritwick: Pushing - New - Frontiers

Timeyin: Amazing - Unpredictable - Teamwork

Xingbo: Uncertain - Unforgettable - United

Tags:  2D materials  Graphene  Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre  Lissete Flores  Pann Boonyavanich  Ritwick Mukherjee  Supercapacitor  Timeyin Akerele  University of Manchester  Xingbo Wu 

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Stopping the unstoppable with atomic bricks

Posted By Graphene Council, Monday, June 29, 2020
Graphene's unique 2D structure means that electrons travel through it differently to most other materials. One consequence of this unique transport is that applying a voltage to them doesn't stop the electrons like it does in most other materials. This is a problem because to make useful applications out of graphene and its unique electrons like quantum computers, it is necessary to be able to stop and control graphene electrons.

An interdisciplinary team of scientists from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain), Université Grenoble Alpes (France), International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (Portugal) and Aalto University has managed to solve this long-standing problem. They combined experimental researchers including Eva Cortés del Río, Pierre Mallet, Héctor González‐Herrero, José María Gómez‐Rodríguez, Jean‐Yves Veuillen and Iván Brihuega with theorists, including Joaquín Fernández-Rossier and Jose Lado, assistant Professor in the department of Applied Physics at Aalto.

The experimental team used atomic bricks to build walls capable of stopping the graphene electrons. This was achieved by creating atomic walls that confined the electrons, leading to structures whose spectrum was then compared with theoretical predictions, demonstrating that electrons were confined. In particular, it was obtained that the engineered structures gave rise to nearly perfect confinement of electrons, as demonstrated from the emergence of sharp quantum well resonances with a remarkably long lifetime.

The work, published this week in Advanced Materials, demonstrates that impenetrable walls for graphene electrons can be created by collective manipulation of a large number of hydrogen atoms. In the experiments, a scanning tunnelling microscope was used to construct artificial walls with sub nanometric precision. This led to graphene nanostructures of arbitrarily complex shapes, with dimensions ranging from two nanometres to one micron.

Importantly, the developed method is non-destructive, allowing to erase and rebuild the nanostructures at will, providing an unprecedented degree of control to create artificial graphene devices. The experiments demonstrate that the engineered nanostructures are capable of perfectly confining the graphene electrons in these artificially designed structures, overcoming the critical challenge imposed by Klein tunnelling. Ultimately, this opens up a plethora of exciting new possibilities, as the created nanostructures realize graphene quantum dots that can be selectively coupled, opening ground-breaking possibilities for artificially designed quantum matter.

Tags:  2D materials  Aalto University  Graphene  Jose Lado  nanostructures  quantum materials  Universidad Autonoma de Madrid 

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Physicists obtain molecular 'fingerprints' using plasmons

Posted By Graphene Council, Friday, June 26, 2020
Scientists from the Center for Photonics and 2D Materials of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), the University of Oviedo, Donostia International Physics Center, and CIC nanoGUNE have proposed a new way to study the properties of individual organic molecules and nanolayers of molecules. The approach, described in Nanophotonics, relies on V-shaped graphene-metal film structures.

Nondestructive analysis of molecules via infrared spectroscopy is vital in many situations in organic and inorganic chemistry: for controlling gas concentrations, detecting polymer degradation, measuring alcohol content in the blood, etc. However, this simple method is not applicable to small numbers of molecules in a nanovolume. In their recent study, researchers from Russia and Spain propose a way to address this.

A key notion underlying the new technique is that of a plasmon. Broadly defined, it refers to an electron oscillation coupled to an electromagnetic wave. Propagating together, the two can be viewed as a quasiparticle.

The study considered plasmons in a wedge-shaped structure several dozen nanometers in size. One side of the wedge is a one-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms, known as graphene. It accommodates plasmons propagating along the sheet, with oscillating charges in the form of Dirac electrons or holes. The other side of the V-shaped structure is a gold or other electrically conductive metal film that runs nearly parallel to the graphene sheet. The space in between is filled with a tapering layer of dielectric material -- for example, boron nitride -- that is 2 nanometers thick at its narrowest (fig. 1).

Such a setup enables plasmon localization, or focusing. This refers to a process that converts regular plasmons into shorter-wavelength ones, called acoustic. As a plasmon propagates along graphene, its field is forced into progressively smaller spaces in the tapering wedge. As a result, the wavelength becomes many times smaller and the field amplitude in the region between the metal and graphene gets amplified. In that manner, a regular plasmon gradually transforms into an acoustic one.

"It was previously known that polaritons and wave modes undergo such compression in tapering waveguides. We set out to examine this process specifically for graphene, but then went on to consider the possible applications of the graphene-metal system in terms of producing molecular spectra," said paper co-author Kirill Voronin from the MIPT Laboratory of Nanooptics and Plasmonics.

The team tested its idea on a molecule known as CBP, which is used in pharmaceutics and organic light emitting diodes. It is characterized by a prominent absorption peak at a wavelength of 6.9 micrometers. The study looked at the response of a layer of molecules, which was placed in the thin part of the wedge, between the metal and graphene. The molecular layer was as thin as 2 nanometers, or three orders of magnitude smaller than the wavelength of the laser exciting plasmons. Measuring such a low absorption of the molecules would be impossible using conventional spectroscopy.

In the setup proposed by the physicists, however, the field is localized in a much tighter space, enabling the team to focus on the sample so well as to register a response from several molecules or even a single large molecule such as DNA.

There are different ways to excite plasmons in graphene. The most efficient technique relies on a scattering-type scanning near-field microscope. Its needle is positioned close to graphene and irradiated with a focused light beam. Since the needle point is very small, it can excite waves with a very large wave vector -- and a small wavelength. Plasmons excited away from the tapered end of the wedge travel along graphene toward the molecules that are to be analyzed. After interacting with the molecules, the plasmons are reflected at the tapered end of the wedge and then scattered by the same needle that initially excited them, which thus doubles as a detector.

"We calculated the reflection coefficient, that is, the ratio of the reflected plasmon intensity to the intensity of the original laser radiation. The reflection coefficient clearly depends on frequency, and the maximum frequency coincides with the absorption peak of the molecules. It becomes apparent that the absorption is very weak -- about several percent -- in the case of regular graphene plasmons. When it comes to acoustic plasmons, the reflection coefficient is tens of percent lower. This means that the radiation is strongly absorbed in the small layer of molecules," adds the paper's co-author and MIPT visiting professor Alexey Nikitin, a researcher at Donostia International Physics Center, Spain.

After certain improvements to the technological processes involved, the scheme proposed by the Russian and Spanish researchers can be used as the basis for creating actual devices. According to the team, they would mainly be useful for investigating the properties of poorly studied organic compounds and for detecting known ones.

Tags:  2D materials  boron nitride  Graphene  Kirill Voronin  Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology  Photonics  University of Oviedo 

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Researchers discover new boron-lanthanide nanostructure

Posted By Graphene Council, Friday, June 26, 2020
The discovery of carbon nanostructures like two-dimensional graphene and soccer ball-shaped buckyballs helped to launch a nanotechnology revolution. In recent years, researchers from Brown University and elsewhere have shown that boron, carbon’s neighbor on the periodic table, can make interesting nanostructures too, including two-dimensional borophene and a buckyball-like hollow cage structure called borospherene.

Now, researchers from Brown and Tsinghua University have added another boron nanostructure to the list. In a paper published in Nature Communications, they show that clusters of 18 boron atoms and three atoms of lanthanide elements form a bizarre cage-like structure unlike anything they’ve ever seen. 

“This is just not a type of structure you expect to see in chemistry,” said Lai-Sheng Wang, a professor of chemistry at Brown and the study’s senior author. “When we wrote the paper we really struggled to describe it. It’s basically a spherical trihedron. Normally you can’t have a closed three-dimensional structure with only three sides, but since it’s spherical, it works.”

The researchers are hopeful that the nanostructure may shed light on the bulk structure and chemical bonding behavior of boron lanthanides, an important class of materials widely used in electronics and other applications. The nanostructure by itself may have interesting properties as well, the researchers say. 

“Lanthanide elements are important magnetic materials, each with very different magnetic moments,” Wang said. “We think any of the lanthanides will make this structure, so they could have very interesting magnetic properties.”

Wang and his students created the lanthanide-boron clusters by focusing a powerful laser onto a solid target made of a mixture of boron and a lanthanide element. The clusters are formed upon cooling of the vaporized atoms. Then they used a technique called photoelectron spectroscopy to study the electronic properties of the clusters. The technique involves zapping clusters of atoms with another high-powered laser. Each zap knocks an electron out of the cluster. By measuring the kinetic energies of those freed electrons, researchers can create a spectrum of binding energies for the electrons that bond the cluster together.

“When we see a simple, beautiful spectrum, we know there’s a beautiful structure behind it,” Wang said. 

To figure out what that structure looks like, Wang compared the photoelectron spectra with theoretical calculations done by Professor Jun Li and his students from Tsinghua. Once they find a theoretical structure with a binding spectrum that matches the experiment, they know they’ve found the right structure. 

“This structure was something we never would have predicted,” Wang said. “That’s the value of combining theoretical calculation with experimental data.”

Wang and his colleagues have dubbed the new structures metallo-borospherenes, and they’re hopeful that further research will reveal their properties.

Tags:  2D materials  boron nanostructure  Brown University  Graphene  Lai-Sheng Wang  nanostructures  Tsinghua University 

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Researchers pioneer new production method for heterostructure devices

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Researchers at the University of Exeter have developed a pioneering production method for heterostructure devices, based on 2D materials such as graphene.

The new study, published in Nature Communications, focuses on a production method, based around mechanical abrasion, where multilayer structures are formed through directly abrading different Van der Waals material powders directly on top of one another.

The new technique saw sharp heterointerfaces emerge for certain heterostructure combinations. The results pave the way for a wide range of heterointerface based devices to be opened up.

To demonstrate the applicability of this method, researchers demonstrated a multitude of different functional devices such as resistors, capacitors, transistors, diodes and photovoltaics.

The work also demonstrated the use of these films for energy applications such as in triboelectric nanogenerator devices and as a catalyst in the hydrogen evolution reaction.

Darren Nutting, from the University of Exeter and co-author of the study said: “The production method is really simple, you can go from bare substrate to functional heterostructure device within about 10 minutes.

“This is all without the need for complex growth conditions, 20 hours of ultra-sonication or messy liquid phase production.

“The method is applicable to any 2D material crystal, and can easily be automated to produce heterostructures of arbitrary size and complexity. This allows for the production of a plethora of device possibilities with superior performance to those created using more complex methods.”

Dr Freddie Withers, also from the University of Exeter and lead author added: “The most interesting and surprising aspect of this work is that sharply defined heterointerfaces can be realised through direct abrasion, which we initially expected would lead to an intermixing of materials when directly abrading layer by layer. This observation allows for a large number of different devices to be realised through an extremely simple and low-cost fabrication process.

“We also found that the performance of our materials significantly outperform the performance of competitive scalable 2D materials production technologies. We think this is due to larger crystallite sizes and cleaner crystallite interfaces within our films. Considering the rudimentary development of the abrasive process thus far, it will be interesting to see how far we can push the performance levels.”

Tags:  2D materials  Darren Nutting  Graphene  transistor  University of Exeter 

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