(ScienceDaily) University of Basel researchers have equipped an ultrathin semiconductor with superconducting contacts for the first time. These extremely thin materials with novel electronic and optical properties could pave the way for previously unimagined applications. Combined with superconductors, they are expected to give rise to new quantum phenomena and find use in quantum technology.
Whether in smartphones, televisions or building technology, semiconductors play a central role in electronics and therefore in our everyday lives. In contrast to metals, it is possible to adjust their electrical conductivity by applying a voltage and hence to switch the current flow on and off.
A team of physicists, led by Dr. Andreas Baumgartner in the research group of Professor Christian Schönenberger at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the Department of Physics of the University of Basel, has now fitted a monolayer of the semiconductor molybdenum disulfide with superconducting contacts for the first time.
“We always hope for new applications in electronics and quantum technology,” says Baumgartner. “In principle, the vertical contacts we’ve developed for the semiconductor layers can be applied to a large number of semiconductors. Our measurements show that these hybrid monolayer semiconductor components are indeed possible -perhaps even with other, more exotic contact materials that would pave the way for further insights,” he adds.
The fabrication of the new component in a type of sandwich made of different materials requires a large number of different steps. In each step, it is important to avoid contaminations, as they seriously impair the transport of electrical charges.