Printed transistors from 2D nanomaterials

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Printed transistors consisting entirely of 2D nanomaterials have been made for the first time, say researchers at AMBER, the materials science research centre hosted in Trinity College, Dublin.

According to the scientists, the breakthrough could enable low cost printed electronic devices, from solar cells to LEDs, with applications from interactive smart food and drug labels to next-generation banknote security and e-passports.

"In the future, printed devices will be incorporated into even the most mundane objects such as labels, posters and packaging,” said Professor Jonathan Coleman.

“Printed electronic circuitry will allow consumer products to gather, process, display and transmit information. For example, milk cartons could send messages to your phone warning the milk is about to go out-of-date.

“This publication is important because it shows that conducting, semiconducting and insulating 2D nanomaterials can be combined together in complex devices. We felt that it was important to focus on printing transistors, as they are the electric switches at the heart of modern computing. We believe this work opens the way to print a host of devices solely from 2D nanosheets."

The team used standard printing techniques to combine graphene nanosheets as the electrodes with two other nanomaterials – tungsten diselenide and boron nitride – as the channel and separator, to form an all-printed, all-nanosheet, working transistor.