NSF has created a new mid-scale instrumentation program managed by the Division of Materials Research focused on the discovery, development, and deployment of new materials - the Materials Innovation Platforms. The Two-Dimensional Crystal Consortium Materials Innovation Platform (2DCC-MIP) at Pennsylvania State University (PSU) will advance the state of the art in the crystal growth of chalcogenides and two-dimensional (2D) thin film chalcogenides through transformational research and mid-scale investments in bulk crystal and thin film growth instrumentation. The recent advent of new classes of 2D layered materials has created exciting opportunities in this context for fundamental scientific discovery and for transformative routes to high-impact technology. The restricted electron motion in 2D films gives rise to new physical phenomena not present in three dimensions and new frontiers in computing, displays and communications that reach beyond current silicon-based electronics. The Platform's in-house research team, housed at PSU, will focus on advancing our knowledge and understanding of synthetic routes and approaches that result in the application of 2D chalcogenide thin film systems in current electronic architectures and the next generation of electronic materials and devices. External researchers from across the U.S. also working on next-generation electronic devices will have access to the Platform's growth capabilities and its expertise in synthesis, characterization, and theoretical modeling. Along with access to mid-scale level tools and expertise, a unique feature of the Platform is the access to new chalcogenide bulk crystal samples and thin films produced and curated by the 2DCC-MIP. At the heart of the Platform's synthesis capabilities are MOCVD and MBE tools with unique in-situ diagnostic capabilities. In addition, several bulk crystal tools are available to grow a variety of chalcogenide systems, yielding crystals for fundamental studies, surfaces of new materials for exfoliating 2D films, and bulk substrates on which to grow unexplored thin film phases and structures. To this end, 2DCC-MIP seeks to inspire and enable diverse new ideas and new researchers in 2D synthesis, supporting investigators nationwide at all career stages with capabilities that will transform their research. The research activities of these external users and those of the 2DCC-MIP in-house team will together create a community of researchers poised to make transformational gains in the accelerated discovery and deployment of chalcogenide 2D materials.

The 2DCC-MIP will also serve as a leader in education and outreach, with several programs designed to disseminate the science and technology of 2D materials developed by the Platform. 2DCC-MIP will create and share a range of educational materials on various aspects of crystal growth and advanced characterization techniques accessible at the Platform or remotely. A major activity will be the Grow With Us workshop designed to combine hands-on experience and seminars to transfer knowledge in exciting and emerging areas. In addition, the Materials Research Facility Network Faculty Fellows and the STEP FORWARD programs will help faculty and student researchers gain access to the 2DCC-MIP shared facility. For more information, see www.mri.psu.edu/materials-innovation-platform

Nontechnical Abstract

The recent advent of new classes of two-dimensional (2D) layered materials has created exciting opportunities for fundamental scientific discovery and for transformative routes to high-impact technology at the frontiers of computing, displays, and communications that reaches beyond current silicon-based electronics. The 2D Crystal Consortium Materials Innovation Platform (2DCC-MIP) aims to develop a national resource to meet the synthesis challenges of two-dimensional (2D) chalcogenide materials. Importantly, these 2D materials open up new fabrication approaches for flexible electronics and new routes to information technology beyond the present day confines of silicon CMOS. The full realization of the scientific and technological potential of these new 2D materials will require developing atomic-level mastery over the wafer-scale synthesis of samples with high crystalline quality and low defect densities. Internal MIP research will develop synthetic capabilities that extend the state-of-the-art in both chemical vapor deposition and hybrid molecular beam epitaxy, thus enabling new ways to control nucleation and growth kinetics. These synthesis methodologies will be accompanied by a comprehensive suite of in-situ characterization techniques that probe materials from the atomic scale to the macroscale, guided by theoretical modeling of materials synthesis and predictive design of materials properties. External researchers from across the U.S. will be engaged to advance the frontiers of known chalcogenide materials, to accelerate discovery of new systems, to develop cost-effective processes for large-area single-crystal 2D films to transition toward commercialization, and to disseminate knowledge, samples, and techniques within a national user facility that acts as a hub for scientific cross-fertilization.

The ultimate goal of the 2DCC-MIP is to revitalize the science of crystal growth in the U.S.: this will be accomplished by combining compelling scientific capabilities with comprehensive user support and a suite of educational workshops, tutorials and webinars that serves a broad audience of students and academic, government and industrial researchers and fosters the growth and development of the nationwide community of researchers in the synthesis of 2D systems. Planned educational activities include monthly 2D research webinars, on-line tutorials on experimental and computational tools and techniques and an annual Grow with Us workshop that highlights emerging opportunities in the science and practice of crystal growth and thin film epitaxy. The 2DCC-MIP seeks to engage the full materials research community across academia and industry, and in particular, early career researchers and students and researchers at minority serving and primarily undergraduate institutions. The 2DCC-MIP will provide affordable access to unique equipment and computational tools, and deliver comprehensive support from science experts to a diverse group of users. For more information, see www.mri.psu.edu/materials-innovation-platform

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Materials Research (DMR)
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Z. Ying
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Pennsylvania State University
University Park
United States
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