Science 3 min read

New Semiconductor Material for Organic Electronics Developed

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Dan74 /

Semiconductor materials are used in microchips, transistors, light-emitting diodes, and other components that form the foundation of modern-day electronics.

Engineers are always after the perfect semiconductor material to pave the way for the new generation of organic electronics, free of silicon semiconductors.

After the discovery of graphene, this two-dimensional wonder material, a lot of what seemed out of reach engineering-wise became theoretically possible.

But graphene, a semimetal, is not a semiconductor because it lacks an electronic band gap.

There’s however a new class of materials, called carbon nitrides, that resemble graphene in that they’re also a form of carbon, but with semiconducting properties.

Toward Organic Electronics: 2D Organic Semiconductor Material

A team of researchers from Humboldt-Universität and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin in Germany has introduced a new material in the carbon-nitride family, and which might claim the title of the first organic semiconductor material.

Called Triazine-based Graphitic Carbon Nitride (TGCN), this 2D semiconductor made of carbon and nitrogen atoms, has an unusual semiconducting property that makes it a good candidate for applications in optoelectronics and organic electronics.

Similar to graphene, TGCN has a two-dimensional hexagonal honeycomb structure, but unlike graphene, however, it has a band gap of 1.7 electron volts and “the conductivity in the direction perpendicular to its 2D planes is 65 times higher than along the planes themselves.”

This is opposite to graphene that while exhibit an excellent planar conductivity, has a very poor perpendicular conductivity.

In laser experiments, researchers used time-resolved absorption measurements in the femtosecond-nanosecond range to find out how charge carriers travel through TGCN. They found that instead of moving through the material horizontally, charge carriers move diagonally from a hexagon of triazine to the next in the neighboring plane.

This may explain why the perpendicular conductivity in TGCN is higher than that of the planes. But researchers still don’t understand why these readings came higher by a factor of 65.

Team leader Dr. Michael J. Bojdys, a chemist at Humboldt University Berlin, explains why TGCN would meet the demand for sustainable and efficient semiconductor materials.

“TGCN is the best candidate so far for replacing common inorganic semiconductors like silicon and their crucial dopants, some of which are rare elements. The fabrication process we developed in my group at Humboldt-Universität, produces flat layers of semiconducting TGCN on an insulating quartz substrate. This facilitates upscaling and simple fabrication of electronic devices.”

Read More: How Microbially Grown Materials Became the Future of Electronics

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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