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News Link • Inventions

2D self-assembling semiconductor could beat out graphene

•, By Heidi Hoopes
Enter Ni3(2,3,6,7,10,11-hexaiminotriphenylene)2 ... well, you can refer to it as a metal-organic graphene analogue for now. In addition to having a natural band gap, it’s able to self-assemble and represents a whole family of compounds that’s exciting to researchers for its novel properties.

Nickel (the metal) and HITP (the organic compound) are represented in the diagram at the top of the page, with nickel colored in green, amino groups in purple, and carbon rings in grey. The amino groups in the carbon rings are attracted to the nickel, and because of the symmetry and geometry in HITP, the overall organometallic complex almost has a fractal nature that allows this new semiconductor to self-organize perfectly. A band gap is created in the “hole” where electrons aren’t, a space that's just about 2 nm across.

The bandgap is important: graphene must be doped with other compounds to give it the properties of a semiconductor rather than a metal, but this process also negatively affects the otherwise desirable properties of graphene. 

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