16
December
2019
|
10:44
Europe/London

Royce enables world-first Ultra High Vacuum Suite for the characterisation of 2D ‘designer structures’

Summary
  • UHV Suite at The University of Manchester allows researchers to build layered van de Waals heterostructures with new library of 2D materials
  • Funding from the Royce bought pioneering research collaboration with Prevac to life

Following the isolation of Graphene in Manchester in 2004, researchers have discovered a whole new library of 2D materials. Since 2010, researchers have been combining these 2D materials to develop new ‘designer’ structures with unique properties and implications for future technologies.

Considerable advances have been made in streamlining the ability to analyse volatile atomically thin 2D structures, as few are stable in air.

Royal Society Research Fellow and PI for the UHV Suite, Dr Roman Gorbachev said: "Now we are achieving the highest purity standards by assembling heterostructures in ultra-high vacuum, where there is no chemical degradation, no contamination from air. This gives the best quality structures that we can achieve, unveiling a range of exciting physical phenomena.

We can use hundreds of different materials and we can stack them in any combination while keeping the interfaces between them chemically clean and sharp."

 

Now we are achieving the highest purity standards by assembling heterostructures in ultra-high vacuum, where there is no chemical degradation, no contamination from air. This gives the best quality structures that we can achieve, unveiling a range of exciting physical phenomena.
Dr Roman Gorbachev

The system’s interconnected chambers allow researchers to create, analyse and fabricate new layered structures. Researchers can analyse optical and electrical properties in the main UHV chamber, as well as the atomic behaviour using a built-in Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope.

Speaking on the UHV suite’s pioneering design, Senior Experimental Officer Dr Thomas Bointon said: "The really unique part about this system is that it allows us to do many different processes all within the UHV environment".

The suite demonstrates a new horizon for the engineering of 2D and layered materials enabling researchers to exploit thousands of structure combinations. Further development is underway to fully automate the system to improve the speed and reliability of analysis.

Advanced materials is one of The University of Manchester’s research beacons - examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are tackling some of the biggest questions facing the planet. #ResearchBeacons