Ramasubramaniam Leads Research on 2D Materials for Computing, Optics

Ashwin Ramasubramaniam
Ashwin Ramasubramaniam

Ashwin Ramasubramaniam, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, is leading a joint U.S. and Israeli team of researchers looking for inexpensive, large-scale methods of fabrication of electronic and optical devices within single sheets of two-dimensional (2D) materials. The research is funded by a three-year, $450,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Materials Research.

Two-dimensional materials are crystalline and composed of extremely thin sheets—one or a few atoms in thickness—with the potential to create smaller and faster electronic and optical devices. Existing methods for preparing such devices are not suited to 2D materials, however, so new approaches must be discovered that promote their easy integration into device construction.

“This project studies 2D materials that are coated with polymers, which can be applied with extreme precision to manipulate the physical and electronic properties at specific locations,” the researchers say. “This promotes inexpensive, large-scale fabrication of electronic and optical devices within single sheets of 2D materials, enabling applications in low-power, nanoscale, electronic and optical devices, including wearable and conformable devices.”

The researchers say this hard-soft, 2D materials platform enables the preparation of optoelectronic devices such as photodiodes, transistors and inverters—key building blocks of digital electronic —fabricated within 2D monolayers using methods that are scalable and compatible with existing semiconductor technology.”

The co-principal investigators from UMass Amherst are Todd Emrick, polymer science and engineering, and Michael Barnes, chemistry. Doron Naveh, an engineer at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, is also part of the team.

The research program is integrated with formative summer research opportunities for undergraduates from minority-serving institutions, as well as local middle- and high-school students, thereby nurturing the next generation of materials scientists and engineers. Researchers will deliver informal lectures to the broader public in western Massachusetts to kindle interest in the emerging field of 2D materials.