FoS Wins SNAS Young Scientist Award

18 Sep 2015 NUS scientist wins the Singapore National Academy of Science (SNAS) Young Scientist Award on the fundamental properties of two-dimensional materials.

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Many materials crystallise in a unique layer structure. Individual layers in these materials are no more than a few atoms thick and can be considered as being effectively two-dimensional (2D). These 2D layers are held together by weak van der Waals forces such that they can be separated from each other and isolated.

A team led by Prof Goki EDA from the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Physics has succeeded in isolating 2D layers of various compounds using chemical and mechanical methods. This revealed a range of physical and chemical phenomena that are unique to the 2D nature of these sheet-like materials.

One of the challenges in the field is the large-scale synthesis of high quality 2D materials. It is known that intercalation chemistry helps in producing 2D nano-sheets but also modifies their structural properties. Prof Eda’s research team discovered that the exfoliated sheets of a group of compounds exhibit a unique multi-phase structure that gives rise to distinct electrical, optical, and electrochemical properties.

His work demonstrated that these phase-engineered materials can be useful as electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution reactions. These studies further led to new findings on their potential for thin film transistor and super-capacitor applications.

Prof Eda’s research team currently studies fundamental light-matter interactions in these materials and their implementation into electronic and electro-optic devices.

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Scanning transmission electron microscope image of single-layer molybdenum disulphide. [Image credit: Goki Eda]