Black phosphorous is a particularly interesting nanomaterial for next generation photonic and optoelectronic devices but has been difficult to use as the its semiconductor bandgap varies with the number of atomic layers.
"Our inkjet printing demonstration makes possible for the first time the scalable mass fabrication of black phosphorous based photonic and optoelectronic devices with long-term stability necessary for a wide range of industrial applications," said Professor Zhipei Sun at Aalto University in Finland.
The project team includes researchers from the Aalto, University of Cambridge and Imperial College London as well as Beihang University in China. They tweaked the chemical structure to achieve a stable ink to produce new functional photonic and optoelectronic devices by inkjet printing with a high print quality and uniformity.
The researchers also demonstrated printed black phosphorous based nonlinear optical devices that can be easily inserted into lasers to act as ultra-quick optical shutters, converting a continuous beam of laser radiation into a repetitive series of very short bursts of light suited for industrial and medical applications, such as machining, imaging and sensing. In the study, black phosphorous was also able to act as an efficient and highly-responsive detector of light, extending the wavelength range over which conventional silicon-based photodetectors can operate.
The researchers showed that the black phosphorous ink can be seamlessly integrated with existing silicon CMOS technologies to produce heterostructure materials.