Graphene and LEDs Made with Super-Thin Crystals Pave the Way for Flexible Electronics

Researchers from the University of Manchester and the University of
Shiefield have successfully created extremely flat LEDs with grapheme and 10 to
40 atom thick crystals. Nobel Laureate Sir Kostya Novoselov led the team that
engineered the LEDs on the atomic level. They published the results in the
Nature Materials. The unique properties of Graphene may someday allow
the creation of semi-transparent, flexible electronics, according to the

The new research demonstrated that graphene and related materials that are
essentially 2D could be employed in light emitting devices for the
next-generation of mobile phones, TVs, and tablets and televisions making them
incredibly thin, and even flexible, durable and semi-transparent. The
researchers combined different ultra-thin crystals that can emit light from
across their whole surfaces. Such LEDs may one day form flexible and
semitransparent displays.

One-atom thick graphene was first isolated and explored in 2004 at The
University of Manchester. Other 2D materials, such as molybdenum disulphid and
boron nitiride have been discovered since then, opening new areas of research
and potential applications. Stacked layers of various “2D” materials, with the
addition of quantum wells to control the movement of electrons have now
revealed the potential for customized, grapheme-based optoelectronics.

Freddie Withers, the University of Manchester’s Royal Academy of Engineering
Research Fellow, who led the devices’ production said, “As our new
type of LED’s only consist of a few atomic layers of 2D materials they
are flexible and transparent. We envisage a new generation of optoelectronic
devices to stem from this work, from simple transparent lighting and lasers and
to more complex applications.”

Explaining the construction of the LED device, Sir Kostya Novoselov said,
“By preparing the heterostructures on elastic and transparent
substrates, we show that they can provide the basis for flexible and
semi-transparent electronics.

“The range of functionalities for the demonstrated
heterostructures is expected to grow further on increasing the number of
available 2D crystals and improving their electronic quality.”

Professor Alexander Tartakovskii, from The University of Sheffield claimed,
“Despite the early days in the raw materials manufacture, the quantum
efficiency (photons emitted per electron injected) is already comparable to
organic LEDs.”

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