Rice University scientists have taken an important step toward the creation of two-dimensional electronics with a process to make patterns in single-atom-thick layers that combine a conductor and an insulator. The materials at play – graphene and hexagonal boron nitride – have been merged into sheets and built into a variety of patterns at nanoscale dimensions. Rice introduced a technique to stitch the identically structured materials together nearly three years ago. Since then, the idea has received a lot of attention from researchers interested in the prospect of building 2-D, atomic-layer circuits, said Rice materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan. He is one of the authors of the new work that appears this week in Nature Nanotechnology. In particular, Ajayan noted that Cornell University scientists reported an advance late last year on the art of making atomic-layer heterostructures through sequential growth schemes. This week's contribution by Rice offers manufacturers the possibility of shrinking electronic devices into even smaller packages.
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