MIT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are pulling together to study the advantages of a new 2D nanomaterial that ultimately will offer advanced flexibility and even more thinness from technical devices. These advances could mean lots of new solutions are on the horizon for home automation.

Two-dimensional nanomaterials may be infinitesimally small, but they are a big deal for the chemists and materials scientists who trek to ORNL to study them. One such user is Shengxi Huang.

Huang is a doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology working with Mildred Dresselhaus, a noted physicist, engineer, and long-time ORNL collaborator known as “The Queen of Carbon Science.”

Dresselhaus pioneered research in carbon nanotubes, graphene and other carbon nanostructures. When Huang joined the research group shortly after arriving at MIT, Dresselhaus assigned her to work on 2-D materials at ORNL’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, which has the specialized facilities and active research interest necessary for their work, in this case allowing them to apply a technique known as low-frequency Raman spectroscopy.

Huang and Xi Ling, a former group member and current professor of chemistry at Boston University, came to ORNL to study a family of 2-D materials called transition metal dichalcogenides.

These materials are promising semiconductor candidates and exhibit excellent optical properties, such as strong photoluminescence and absorption, that can be applied to next-generation optoelectronic devices.

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