By Kris Walker
MoS2 is a single layer of Molybdenum between two layers of sulfur.
It has been nearly a decade since Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov developed graphene by 'ripping' scotch tape off a thick layer of graphite and in that time it has been touted as a material that has excellent conductivity due to its atomic layer structure, and could be used in a host of applications that could rival silicon.
So if graphene is a rival to silicon; is there a rival to graphene?
Graphene isn’t the only 2D structure that is out there; silicon has an alternative with silicene, with research suggesting, that it has similar capabilities of graphene with the added bonus of the familiarity of using silicon.
Research is still ongoing with silicene however, what seems to be a viable rival to graphene is molybdenum disulfide (MoS2).
This 2D structure is a molecular combination of molybdenum and sulfur and actually shows capabilities that could be more appropriate than graphene and silicon. MoS2 is made up of a single atomic layer of molybdenum between two single layers of sulfur.
Potential applications for MoS2 could be in electronics.
Looking at MoS2 as a semi-conductor there is a difference in terms of having a direct bandgap to that of graphene and silicon. What the direct bandgap allows is the MoS2 to emit and absorb light.
MoS2 also has a low coefficient of friction and robustness making it an exciting prospect for all types of electronics, optics, transistor and flexible display applications.
So is MoS2 a direct rival to graphene?
Rather than get mixed up in a battle of the 2D structures, researchers from the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have developed a way of combining both graphene and MoS2 to create a more effective memory storage to rival flash.
With the potential capabilities of being faster than, and possessing greater power than ,silicon, the team at EPPFL replaced silicon with molybdenite. The molybdenite has graphene electrodes beneath the layer as well as having layers of graphene on top of the device. This would capture the electrical charge, storing memory.
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Image Credits: Wang Et Al MIT, Photos.com