Crystal with a twist: scientists grow spiraling new material


Prof. Jie Yao's team have created new inorganic crystals made of stacks of atomically thin sheets that unexpectedly spiral like a nanoscale card deck. Their surprising structures, reported in a new study appearing in the Wednesday, June 20 issue of the journal Nature, may yield unique optical, electronic and thermal properties, including superconductivity. These helical crystals are made of stacked layers of germanium sulfide, a semiconductor material that, like graphene, readily forms sheets that are only a few atoms or even a single atom thick. Such “nanosheets” are usually referred to as “2D materials.” “The twisted behavior of these layered materials, typically with only two layers twisted at different angles, has already shown great potential and attracted a lot of attention from the physics and chemistry communities. Now, it becomes highly intriguing to find out, with all of these twisted layers combined in our new material, if will they show quite different material properties than regular stacking of these materials,” Yao said. Berkeley News and MRS Bulletin both have news stories on this discovery.

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