2D sheets intersect and twist on top of each other, modifying the energy landscape of the materials. (Image Credit: Ventsislav Valev)
Parallel Universes Cross in Flatland: Physicists Observe Modified Energy Landscapes
+ Now, scientists from the Department of Physics at the University of Bath in the UK have found a way to arrange 2D sheets of WS2 (previously created in their lab) into a 3D configuration, resulting in an energy landscape that is strongly modified when compared to that of the flat-laying WS2 sheets. This particular 3D arrangement is known as a ‘nanomesh’: a webbed network of densely-packed, randomly distributed stacks, containing twisted and/or fused WS2 sheets.
Modifications of this kind in Flatland would allow people to step into each other’s worlds. “We didn’t set out to distress the inhabitants of Flatland,” said Professor Ventsislav Valev who led the research, “But because of the many defects that we nanoengineered in the 2D materials, these hypothetical inhabitants would find their world quite strange indeed.
“First, our WS2 sheets have finite dimensions with irregular edges, so their world would have a strangely shaped end. Also, some of the sulfur atoms have been replaced by oxygen, which would feel just wrong to any inhabitant. Most importantly, our sheets intersect and fuse together, and even twist on top of each other, which modifies the energy landscape of the materials. For the Flatlanders, such an effect would look like the laws of the universe had suddenly changed across their entire landscape.”
+ Modern 2D materials consist of single-atom layers, where electrons can move in two dimensions but their motion in the third dimension is restricted. Due to this ‘squeeze’, 2D materials have enhanced optical and electronic properties that show great promise as next-generation, ultrathin devices in the fields of energy, communications, imaging and quantum computing, among others.
+ Professor Valev added: “The nanomesh has very strong nonlinear optical properties – it efficiently converts one laser color into another over a broad palette of colors. Our next goal is to use it on Si waveguides for developing quantum optical communications.”
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