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 Piezoelectricity in a 2D semiconductor

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Date posted: 05/01/2015

Berkeley Lab scientists have discovered a way to use piezoelectricity — the conversion of mechanical force to electricity and vice versa — with a single layer of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) semiconductor molecules, which could lead to nanotechnology devices, such as a scanning atomic force microscope (AFM), for extremely small force generation/sensing and other uses.

“Piezoelectricity is a well-known effect in bulk crystals, but this is the first quantitative measurement of the piezoelectric effect in a single layer of molecules that has intrinsic in-plane dipoles,” says Xiang Zhang, director of Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division.

“The discovery of piezoelectricity at the molecular level not only is fundamentally interesting, but also could lead to tunable piezo-materials and devices for extremely small force generation and sensing,” he added.

Zhang, an international authority on nanoscale engineering, holds the Ernest S. Kuh Endowed Chair at the University of California (UC) Berkeley and is a member of the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute at Berkeley. He is the corresponding author of a paper in Nature Nanotechnology describing this research.

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