Semi-conductor materials enable devices to operate at high voltages and extremely high temperatures, useful in military radar, and lasers. The ultra-bandwidth versions promise advances in alternative energy technology and more efficient electric vehicles.
Applications in deep ultraviolet lasers, next-generation electronics and sensors are possible using what is claimed to be the first-ever growth of two-dimensional gallium nitride using graphene encapsulation with its attendant electronic properties.
Pennsylvania State scientists have been focusing on making 2D gallium nitride. Its three-dimensional form is recognised as a wide-bandgap semiconductor, important for high frequency, high power applications. In its two-dimensional form, gallium nitride transforms from a wide-bandgap to an ultra-wide-bandgap material, effectively tripling the energy spectrum in which it can operate including the whole ultraviolet, visible and infrared spectrum, having implications relating to electro-optic devices.
The graphene is grown on a substrate of silicon carbide – an advanced substrate. When heated, the silicon on the surface decomposes and leaves a carbon-rich surface that can reconstruct into graphene. The advantage of producing the graphene in this way is that the interface where the two materials meet is perfectly smooth.