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Equipping ultra-thin semiconductors with superconducting contacts

Researchers at the University of Basel have announced that they have equipped ultra-thin semiconductors with superconducting contacts for the first time. The materials used are very thin and have novel electronic and optical properties, which the researchers believe could pave the way for previously unimaginable applications. When ultrathin semiconductors are combined with superconductors, they promise to lead to new quantum phenomena and find uses in quantum technology.


Semiconductors are one of the most critical components in modern electronic devices, so researchers have been focused on developing new semiconductors consisting of a single monolayer of semiconductor material. Some naturally occurring materials provide semiconductor properties using three-dimensional crystals formed by stacking single layers. Researchers can isolate these layers, which are no more than one molecule thick, in a laboratory setting and then use them to build electronic components.


Ultra-thin semiconductors can provide unique properties in that they can use electric fields to influence the magnetic moments of the electrons inside. Semiconductor monolayers also have complex quantum mechanical phenomena occurring within them that can be applied to quantum technology. Researchers are currently investigating how thin semiconductors known as van der Waals heterostructures can be used to form new synthetic materials.

While stacking these layers has been studied, this research marks the first time a monolayer has been combined with a superconducting contact. Researchers from the University of Basel combined a monolayer of the semiconductor molybdenum disulfide with a superconducting contact. The importance of this breakthrough is of great interest to the researchers, as they believe that such components can exhibit new properties and physical phenomena.