COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING & SCIENCE

Professor develops a design tool for synthesizing high-quality atomically thin electronic materials

Dr. Kasra Momeni, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Advanced Hierarchical Materials by Design Lab at Louisiana Tech University, in collaboration with Pennsylvania State University and the Center for Two Dimensional and Layered Materials, has developed an advanced predictive tool to design and synthesize advanced atomically thin electronic materials. The results of this research have been published in the highly ranked interdisciplinary Naturepartner journal 2D Materials and Applications.

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The research reveals a new path for engineering atomically thin materials, known as 2D materials, and tailoring their characteristics. This novel method and tool added to the material design opens new doors to build superior 2D materials by engineering their growth conditions. The proposed approach can also be used to tailor the properties of synthesized materials, which is of importance for designing new electronic, catalytic and structural materials.

Momeni describes that ability to predict materials’ growth conditions, such as pressure and temperature, as well as the governing growth mechanisms that play key roles in determining our ability to make superior materials.

“The complex nature of processes and mechanisms that are involved in materials’ growth determine the final morphology and properties of as-synthesized materials,” Momeni said. “Currently scientists follow a trial-and-error approach and brute-force experimentation to produce new materials. This approach is very expensive and time consuming, and thus any method or tool that can guide this search for new materials have the potential to save significant amount of time and resources. The analytical model and computer code, which we developed at Advanced Hierarchical Materials by Design Lab, provides guidelines for experimental synthesis of these materials, which has also successfully verified for synthesizing new atomically thin electronic materials.”

Computer simulations using this newly developed tool indicate that morphology, and, thus, engineering the flow rates and temperature of the growth chamber can control properties of atomically thin materials. Making vertically standing or horizontally grown 2D materials is possible just by changing the location of the substrate. While horizontally grown materials are suitable for making new electronic devices, vertically standing devices have excellent chemical properties.

“Predicting the proper growth conditions and furnace configuration, the search for these new materials have significantly expedited and synthesis costs are dropped,” Momeni said. “We expect our developed predictive code to work for atomically thin materials with different chemical compositions and for growth chambers of different geometries. The developed model and computational tool pave the way to make new materials of high quality.”

Momeni has had research published in journals such as Nano Letters, Nano Energy, and Scientific Reports. He received his doctoral degree in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University. He earned his master’s degree and bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Sharif University of Technology and KNT University of Technology, respectively.