Application of cellulosic materials as flexible substrates for two-dimensional electronic heterostructure devices

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Beatty, Brian
Vogel, Eric M.
Shofner, Meisha L.
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With the goal of creating a set of materials to enable flexible electronics, two-dimensional (2D) materials are incredibly capable. This family of nanomaterials comprises a suite of strong and flexible conducting, semiconducting, and dielectric materials. These materials, all compatible with one another can be combined to enable an incredibly wide variety of behaviors and device structures. Designs for structures using 2D materials have been proposed or developed that allow for photovoltaic (PV) energy production, logic and general computing capabilities, and memory or data storage. In this work, I show that paper can be considered as a promising substrate material for these flexible electronics, as it provides a variety of interesting benefits including environmentally friendliness, flexibility, and low-cost. By mating pervasive flexible cellulose products with the new and exciting capabilities of 2D materials, we seek to help build a complete package of technologies for low-power electronics and computing applications. There are several challenges when it comes to meshing these two materials systems. The surface properties of most papers have a great deal of roughness and texture, which can degrade performance of the 2D materials. Additionally, paper tends to be incompatible with most standard lithographic processes, requiring further processing to produce devices. This work has helped to improve understanding of the effects of surface and interface properties on the paper and 2D nanolayer system, characterized the surface qualities of select paper substrates, determined preliminary methods to enable fabrication of structures directly on the final paper material, and performed initial electronic characterization of graphene-based transistors on cellulose, and improved synthesis procedures for MoS2. As the world becomes more interconnected, everyday products and items are becoming smarter which is driving demand for low power and inexpensive computing technologies. A paper-based product would fit this need; inexpensive, environmentally conscious, and having a wide and tunable range of properties and possibilities.
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