materials_science (3)

Nonvolatile Charge Memory...

Light irradiation-controlled nonvolatile charge memory. Left: schematic of the memory device. Right: the optical-controlled writing and erasing process of source-drain current. (Courtesy: Q Li et al J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 10.1088/1361-6463/ab5737)


Topics: Applied Physics, Device Physics, Electrical Engineering, Materials Science, Nanotechnology

Qinliang Li, Cailei Yuan and Ting Yu from Jiangxi Normal University, along with Qisheng Wang and Jingbo Li from South China Normal University, are developing nonvolatile charge memory devices with simple structures. Wang explains how the optically controllable devices combine the functions of light sensing and electrical storage.

The research is reported in full in Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, published by IOP Publishing – which also publishes Physics World.

What was the motivation for the research and what problem were you trying to solve?


Nonvolatile memory devices are central to modern communication and information technology. Among various material systems, emerging two dimensional (2D) materials offer a promising platform for next-generation data-storage devices due to their unique planar structure and brilliant electronic properties. However, 2D materials-based nonvolatile memory devices have complicated architectures with multilayer stacking of 2D materials, metals, organics or oxides. This limits the capacity for device miniaturization, scalability and integration functionality.


In this work, we are trying to design a nonvolatile charge memory with simple device architecture. We also expect to explore a new type of optical control on the charge storage devices, which may bring us smart operation on data deposition and communication.


Nonvolatile charge memory device shows excellent room-temperature performance, Physics World
Qisheng Wang is professor at the Institute of Semiconductor Science and Technology, South China Normal University

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2D MXenes...

Helper two-dimensional metal-carbide layers could improve perovskite solar cell stability and help make these complex solar cells a viable green energy option. Credit: iStock Milos-Muller


Topics: Condensed Matter Physics, Green Tech, Materials Science, Metamaterials, Nanotechnology, Solar Power

With the reality of climate change looming, the importance of realistic green energy sources is higher than ever. Solar cells are one promising avenue, as they can convert readily available visible and ultraviolet energy into usable electricity. In particular, perovskite materials sandwiched between other support layers have demonstrated impressive power conversion efficiencies. Current challenges reside in optimizing perovskite/support layer interfaces, which can directly impact power conversion and cell degradation. Researchers Antonio Agresti et al. under the direction of Aldo Di Carlo at the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy have investigated how cells containing two-dimensional titanium-carbide MXene support layers could improve perovskite solar cell performance.

To obtain good power conversion within a perovskite solar cell, all layers and layer interfaces within the cell must have good compatibility. Typical cells contain the active perovskite material sandwiched between two charge transport layers, which are then adjacent to their corresponding electrodes. Support layers may also be added. Charge mobility, energy barriers, interface energy alignment, and interfacial vacancies all impact compatibility and subsequent cell performance and stability. Thus, engineering well-suited interfaces with the cell is paramount to cell success and long-term stability, an important criterion for potential commercialization.

Two-dimensional buffer materials could help to modify and promote useful interface interactions. MXenes, a growing class of two-dimensional transitional metal carbides, nitrides, and carbonitrides, have shown impressive electronic properties that are easily tuned via surface modification. For example, the band gap of an MXene can be modified by changing the surface termination group from an oxygen atom to a hydroxide molecule. Additionally, MXene composition impacts the overall material performance. This type of fine-tuning allows impressive control over MXene properties and makes them ideal for interface adjustments.


Two-dimensional MXenes improve perovskite solar cell efficiency
Amanda Carr, Physics World

#P4TC: MXenes...August 24, 2015

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Boiling Superconductivity...

Under pressure: calculated structure of lithium magnesium hydride. Lithium atoms appear in green, magnesium in blue and hydrogen in red. (Courtesy: Ying Sun et al/Phys. Rev. Lett.)


Topics: Chemistry, Materials Science, Nanotechnology, Superconductors

A material that remains a superconductor when heated to the boiling point of water has been predicted by physicists in China. Hanyu Liu, Yanming Ma and colleagues at Jilin University have calculated that lithium magnesium hydride will superconduct at temperatures as high as 473 K (200 °C).

The catch is that the hydrogen-rich material must be crushed at 250 GPa, which is on par with pressures at the center of the Earth. While such a pressure could be achieved in the lab, it would be very difficult to perform an experiment to verify the prediction. The team’s research could, however, lead to the discovery of more practical high-temperature superconductors.

Superconductors are materials that, when cooled below a critical temperature, will conduct electricity with zero resistance. Most superconductors need to be chilled to very low temperatures, so the holy grail of superconductivity research is to find a substance that will superconduct at room temperature. This would result in lossless electricity transmission and boost technologies that rely on the generation or detection of magnetic fields.


Superconductivity at the boiling temperature of water is possible, say physicists
Hamish Johnston, Physics World

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