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Metal-based graphene alternative "shines" with promise


Soon, however, it may be facing some competition from molybdenum di-sulphide – a thin metallic film that can emit light.

Graphene consists of a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms, arranged in a honeycomb pattern. Molybdenum di-sulphide (MoS2), on the other hand, is made from a mixture of molybdenum and sulphur.

It's a member of a family of materials known as transition metal di-chalcogenides, or TMDCs. These possess some of graphene's desirable qualities (such as mechanical strength and electrical conductivity), plus they can also emit light – this means that they could find use in things like photodetectors or light-emitting devices.

Unfortunately, it has previously proven difficult to produce TMDCs in forms any larger than flakes measuring only a few hundred square microns in area. Now, however, Dr. Kevin Huang from the University of Southampton has announced the fabrication of MoS2 films that are just a few atoms thick, but that have an area of over 1,000 square millimeters. What's more, they can reportedly be transferred to almost any substrate.

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