New, light-energised material could power future smart devices for next-gen IoT

A new, light-energised material developed from plasma, far brighter and more dynamic than the photo-luminescent material currently used, could power future smart devices that process information faster, communicate better with one another, make decisions and take action, enabling next-gen IoT systems, say QUT scientists.

The novel semi-conducting material was developed by an Australia-China research team, which used plasma – ionised gas – to charge oxygen molecules, then forced these between layers of atomically-thin semiconductors, thereby separating them.

“When separated, the two atomic layers become electrically insulated from each other and the electrons can flow along each 2D layer without losing electrons to the neighbouring layer,” explained research co-lead Professor Kostya (Ken) Ostrikov, from the QUT Centre for Materials Science, part of Queensland University of Technology’s School of Chemistry and Physics.

“This process resulted in new properties like strong photoluminescence and photocurrent, which can be used in devices to give greater controllability and achievable currents, light doses and response speeds that are currently difficult to achieve,” he said.

Energising future IoT systems

Powered by the team’s novel, light-energised material, future smart devices will be able to process information more rapidly, communicate with each other more effectively, make intelligent decisions and take action based on these decisions, Prof. Ostrikov said.

“This new material could make Internet of Things and other devices more effective and rapid, and cheaper to produce,” he said.

According to Prof. Ostrikov, it could also be used to develop transistor devices for electronics and photodetectors to be used in applications such as fibre-optic communication systems and environmental sensing.

“Everything from space travel to healthcare, smart cities to our homes will potentially benefit from this material,” he said.

The research team

The new material was developed by Prof. Ostrikov and Aijun Du – also a professor at the QUT Centre for Materials Science in the university’s School of Chemistry and Physics, and QUT visiting researcher Shaoqing Xiao , a professor in the Department of Electronic Engineering at Jiangnan University in Wuxi, China. Profs. Ostrikov and Xiao co-mentored a group of researchers and students from Jiangnan University.

Read the academic paper

The research paper, ‘2D atomic crystal molecular superlattices by soft plasma intercalation’, was published in November 2020 in Nature Communications.

Source: Plasma-developed new material fundamental to Internet of Things I Queensland University of Technology