University of Queensland engineers next gen nanoelectronics

University of Queensland

Researchers at the University of Queensland have engineered a carbon-based material that could spawn the next generation of electronics, with more memory, speed and advanced features. 

The material, C3N bilayers, could contribute to a growing nanoelectronics market that is predicted to be worth $162 billion by 2027. 

Potential applications for this material include telecommunications, medical equipment and automatic access systems, the University of Queensland’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) and School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences (SCMB) professor Debra Bernhardt said. 

University of Queensland
Image credit: University of Queensland

“Graphene has long been considered a promising material for use in electronics, with its high mechanical strength and electrical and thermal conductivity, but it has limitations,” Bernhardt said. 

“The research team engineered a material with nitrogen atoms included in two layers of honeycomb-patterned graphene, then experimented with shifting and twisting the layers. 

“This material – C3N bilayers – has the potential to expand the capabilities of nanoscale electronics, which enables more functionality in a smaller area. Changes in the alignment of the layers can result in the ability to tailor the flow of electricity for various devices, which is not possible with just graphene,” she said. 

The new structures enable production of electronic components that can be combined to produce types of electronics with varying requirements and capabilities, such as refrigerators and smartwatches. 

“This is exciting, because it combines theoretical predictions and experimental research to develop new devices that could be used in many applications, such as computer memory and flexible electronics,” Bernhardt said. 

The research is a significant step forward, but more work is needed to readily produce the material at a reduced cost. 

The material’s concept was conceived by AIBN’s Dr Qinghong Yuan and developed by a research team at the institute, SCMB and international collaborators. Theoretical calculations were also deduced by visiting PhD student, Wenya Wei. 

The research for the C3N bilayers is published in Nature Electronics.