A team of international scientists have developed inks made of graphene-like material that enables use of inkjet printing techniques for use in optoelectronics and photonics.
Ever since Nobel Prize winning discovery of graphene was made, more and more new nanomaterials have been discovered that hold promise of bringing about a revolution in the fields of photonic and optoelectronic technologies. Black phosphorous is one such nanomaterial and while lab results have been amazing, there haven’t been any implementation that could prove usability of black phosphorus in real-world scenarios.
This is where the new inks and inkjet printing demonstration comes in as it shows that it is possible to implement scalable mass fabrication of black phosphorous based photonic and optoelectronic devices with long-term stability necessary for a wide range of industrial applications.
The use of inkjet printing techniques using the new ink paves way for production of new functional photonic and optoelectronic devices. The researchers’ work demonstrated the benefits of their novel technique by inkjet printing devices that take advantage of the properties of black phosphorous, not least its semiconducting bandgap that can be readily varied by engineering the number of atomic layers and can cover the visible and near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The researchers also demonstrated printed black phosphorous based nonlinear optical devices that can be easily inserted into lasers to act as ultra-quick optical shutters, converting a continuous beam of laser radiation into a repetitive series of very short bursts of light suited for industrial and medical applications, such as machining, imaging and sensing. In the study, black phosphorous was also able to act as an efficient and highly-responsive detector of light, extending the wavelength range over which conventional silicon-based photodetectors can operate.
Importantly, the researchers showed that the black phosphorous ink can be seamlessly integrated with existing complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technologies, while the inkjet printing technique developed offering the prospect of supporting the fabrication of so-called heterostructured materials that aim to capitalize on the benefits of distinct, yet complementary properties of multiple nanomaterial layers through controlled fabrication.