http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/new-material-discovered-to-power-electronics-in-new-ways/article/546598

New material discovered to power electronics in new ways

Posted Apr 1, 2019 by Tim Sandle
The functionality of electronics are set to improve due to the discovery of a new material. The material can function in two different ways, simplifying the number of materials required to be used in electronic devices.
China s electronics production line.
China's electronics production line.
STR, AFP/File
Scientists based at The Ohio State University have worked out a new a way to improve how electronic devices use electrons. This is by utilizing a new material that has a dual role in electronics. The dual mechanism overcomes the need to use multiple materials.
According to principal scientist Joseph Heremans, the researchers have discovered a “dual-personality material.” Speaking with Laboratory Manager magazine, he says that this is “a concept that did not exist before."
The researchers have elected to call this new material phenomenon ‘goniopolarity’, to reflect the dual functionality.
The significance of the research may mean that technologists will be able to create different types of electronic devices, ranging from solar cells, to the light-emitting diodes in display screens; as well as transistors found in laptops and light sensors required for smartphone cameras.
With each device, they work by moving electrons (negative charges) and holes (positive charges) to conduct electricity. To enable this, different materials are required to act either as an electron-holder or a hole-holder, but no material could, hitherto, act as both. This means that electronic devices require different materials in multiple layers in order to function.
The new material: NaSn2As2, is a layered crystal (superlattice) capable of functioning as an electron-holder and hole-holder simultaneously. It is believed that the material has unique electronic structure, enabling to behave in a way very different to all other known materials. It is likely that there are other materials, yet to be identified, which may have similar properties.
What is interesting in terms of the properties of the crystal material were discovered by accident by a laboratory researcher, who was studying a different aspect of the crystal.
The implication from the research is that the process of creating electronic devices can be simplified. The material may also lead to more efficient systems, in terms of operational speed and reliability.
The research has been published in the science journal Nature Materials. The research paper is titled “The Fermi surface geometrical origin of axis-dependent conduction polarity in layered materials.”