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article imagePhosphorus could make an ideal semiconductor

By Tim Sandle     Sep 11, 2014 in Science
Houston - Phosphorus is an ideal candidate for nano-electronic applications that require stable properties, according to a new study.
Although graphene has captured most of the recent headlines in the world of electronics it has one weakness. If there are defects, then this prevents graphene from working properly in terms of the conduct of electricity. Phosphorous does not share this problem, and the material does not need to be in the “perfect state”.
To show the potential of phosphorous, researchers analyzed the properties of elemental bonds between semiconducting phosphorus atoms in two dimensional sheets. This was created through exfoliation from black phosphorus. Initial studies suggest that the material has a good use as a material for semiconductors. Black phosphorus is the thermodynamically stable form of phosphorus at room temperature and pressure. It is obtained by heating white phosphorus under high pressures.
Semiconductors are the basic element of modern electronics that direct and control how electrons move through a circuit. One problem that is encountered with such devices is that when a disturbance deepens a band gap, the semiconductor becomes less stable. For this reason, several research programs are running to improve electronic conductors.
With phosphorus, even when point defects or grain boundaries exist, the material’s semiconducting properties are stable. This is because of the natural purity of phosphorus. One area where phosphorus could be used most readily is its application for solar panels. Another area is the use of phosphorus as an anode material for batteries, especially with high performance electronic devices.
The new study was led by Boris Yakobson, from Rice University. The U.S. Department of Energy supported the research. The findings have been published in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters. The paper is titled “Two-Dimensional Mono-Elemental Semiconductor with Electronically Inactive Defects: The Case of Phosphorus”.
More about Phosphorus, Semiconductors, Electronics, Graphene
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