This "nanocavity" may improve ultrathin solar panels, video cameras and other opteoelectronic devices

An optical nanocavity made, from top to bottom, of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), aluminum oxide and aluminum.

One of the latest advancements  in the field of two-dimensional semiconducting materials centers on molybdenum disulfide (MoS), which is being explored for use in optoelectronics.

Recently, a team co-led by Qiaoqiang Gan, assistant professor of electrical engineering, placed a single layer of MoS molecules on top of a photonic structure called an optical nanocavity made of aluminum oxide and aluminum.

The results, described in the paper “MoS monolayers on nanocavities: enhancement in light-matter interaction” and published in the journal 2D Materials, are promising.

“The nanocavity we have developed has many potential applications,” said Gan. “It could potentially be used to create more efficient and flexible solar panels, and faster photodetectors for video cameras and other devices. It may even be used to produce hydrogen fuel through water splitting more efficiently.”

Zhiwen Liu, professor of electrical engineering at Penn State University Park, is the paper’s other co-lead author. Additional authors include UB graduate students Haomin Song and Dengxin Ji; and Penn State University Park students Corey Janisch (also a co-lead researcher), Chanjing Zhou, Ana Laura Elias and Mauricio Terrones.

The research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Army Research Office and the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research.