Van der Waals thin-film electronics

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The development of emerging applications based on large-area flexible and wearable devices requires solution-processable thin-film electronics. Organic semiconductors can be processed in solution, but typically suffer from relatively low performance and insufficient stability in ambient conditions. Inorganic nanostructures, however, can be processed in solution while retaining the excellent electronic performance and structural stability of crystalline inorganic materials. In particular, a range of two-dimensional inorganic nanosheets can be dispersed in various solvents as stable colloidal inks. These nanosheets can be assembled into continuous thin films in which neighbouring sheets interact via van der Waals forces with few interfacial trapping states. The resulting tiled nanosheets, which we term two-dimensional van der Waals thin films, offer significant potential in thin-film electronics. Here we explore the development of van der Waals thin films and their use in high-performance large-area electronics. We examine the formulation of the nanosheet inks and their scalable assembly into van der Waals thin films and devices. We also consider their application in large-area wearable electronics and the challenges that exist in delivering practical devices.

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Fig. 1: Thin films constructed from 0D, 1D and 2D nanostructures.
Fig. 2: Production routes to solution-processable 2D nanostructures.
Fig. 3: Solution-processable 2D conducting, semiconducting and insulating nanosheets.
Fig. 4: Van der Waals thin-film assembly using various solution processing techniques.
Fig. 5: Flexible/stretchable large-area electronics from vdW thin films.


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X.D. acknowledges support from the US Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Materials Science and Engineering through award DE-SC0018828. Y.H. acknowledges financial support from National Science Foundation grant EFRI-1433541.

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Correspondence to Xiangfeng Duan.

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