RMIT’s liquid metal breakthrough could revolutionise electronics


RMIT scientists have developed ultra-thin, two-dimensional materials that could revolutionise the electronics industry and the way we do chemistry.  

No thicker than a few atoms, these materials are created by dissolving metals in liquid metal to create very thin oxide layers, which previously did not exist as layered structures and which are easily peeled away.

Because thinner oxide layers make electronics faster and less power hungry, the research team believes their discovery could have profound implications for future technologies.

“We predict that the developed technology applies to approximately one-third of the periodic table. Many of these atomically thin oxides are semiconducting or dielectric materials, said Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, who is co-leading the project alongside Dr Torben Daeneke from RMIT’s School of Engineering.

“Semiconducting and dielectric components are the foundation of today’s electronic and optical devices. Working with atomically thin components is expected to lead to better, more energy efficient electronics. This technological capability has never been accessible before.”

Importantly, the extraction process is so cheap and simple that it could be done ‘on a kitchen stove by a non-scientist’.

“I could give these instructions to my mum, and she would be able to do this at home,” Dr Daeneke said.

The researchers are also convinced the breakthrough could change the way we make all chemical products including medicines, fertilisers and plastics.

The study, which was published in Science, is funded by the Australian Research Council Centre for Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies (FLEET).

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