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Semiconducting material combines handedness and polarity

By Mary Page Bailey |

A semiconducting material synthesized by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI; Troy, N.Y.; www.rpi.edu) could enable new ways of manipulating electronic materials remotely using light. The material, explains RPI professor of materials science and engineering Jian Shi, derives its unique capabilities from the co-existence of both macroscopic electrical-field-switchable polarity and chirality. This combination of material properties in semiconductors has not been previously demonstrated. The new material’s pyroelectricity (spontaneous electric polarization that can be reversed through the application of an electric field) combined with chirality (a spatial property of molecules or crystals that are non-superimposable with their mirror images) yields unprecedented material tunability when exposed to light sources of different polarization. This means that the material can be remotely manipulated to produce specific electric and magnetic properties, which could be especially advantageous in semiconductor applications. The organic-inorganic hybrid crystal is made of carbon, iodine and lead and is synthesized via a wet-chemistry method with special precursors designed to enable both polarity and chirality. “Currently,…
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