http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4563458/Miracle-material-used-UNBREAKABLE-phones.html

The ‘miracle material’ that could spell the end of smashed smartphone screens: Scientists create a substance that could be used to produce UNBREAKABLE devices

  • Material is made of semiconducting molecules layered with graphene and hBN
  • hBN provides stability and electronic compatibility but is light and durable
  • While the material has huge potential, it is not yet ready to be used
  • But the researchers are working on improving it and say it will be ready soon 

There’s nothing more frustrating than dropping your smartphone, only to pick it up and discover that the screen has cracked.

But those frustrations could soon be a thing of the past, with the development of a new ‘miracle material.’

The material is similar to silicon, but has improved stability and flexibility, which could make it ideal for creating unbreakable smart devices.

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The material is similar to silicon, but has improved stability and flexibility. It is made up of molecules called 'C60', which are semiconducters, layered with other materials including graphene and hexagonal boron nitrite (hBN)

The material is similar to silicon, but has improved stability and flexibility. It is made up of molecules called ‘C60’, which are semiconducters, layered with other materials including graphene and hexagonal boron nitrite (hBN)

MIRACLE MATERIAL

The material is made up of ‘C60’ molecules, layered with other materials including graphene and hexagonal boron nitrite (hBN).

The hBN provides stability and electronic compatibility, while C60 can transform sunlight into electricity.

While the material has huge potential, it is not yet ready to be used.

One issue is that graphene and the new material architecture is lacking a ‘band gap’ – the key to the on-off switching operations in electronic devices.

But the team is already working on a solution to this, in the form of a chemically stable substance called transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs).

An international team of researchers, led by Queen’s University, Belfast, has worked together to create the new material, which is able to conduct electricity, while still being light, durable and easy to manufacture on a large scale.

The material is made up of molecules called ‘C60’, which are semiconducters, layered with other materials including graphene and hexagonal boron nitrite (hBN).

This unique combination works because hBN provides stability and electronic compatibility, while C60 can transform sunlight into electricity.

Dr Elton Santos, lead author of the study, said: ‘Our findings show that this new “miracle material” has similar physical properties to silicon but it has improved chemical stability, lightness and flexibility, which could potentially be used in smart devices and would be much less likely to break.

‘The material also could mean that devices use less energy than before because of the device architecture so could have improved battery life and less electric shocks.’

Dr Santos initially predicted that the assembly of hBN, graphene and C60 could result in a solid with unique physical and chemical properties.

He then worked with international researchers to bring his vision to life.

Dr Santos said: ‘It is a sort of a “dream project” for a theoretician since the accuracy achieved in the experiments remarkably matched what I predicted and this is not normally easy to find.

There's nothing more frustrating than dropping your smartphone, only to pick it up and discover that the screen has cracked. But those frustrations could soon be a thing of the past, with the development of the new 'miracle material'

There’s nothing more frustrating than dropping your smartphone, only to pick it up and discover that the screen has cracked. But those frustrations could soon be a thing of the past, with the development of the new ‘miracle material’

‘The model made several assumptions that have proven to be completely right.’

While the material has huge potential, it is not yet ready to be used.

One issue is that graphene and the new material architecture is lacking a ‘band gap’ – the key to the on-off switching operations in electronic devices.

But the team is already working on a solution to this, in the form of a chemically stable substance called transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs).

Dr Santos added: ‘By using these findings, we have now produced a template but in future we hope to add an additional feature with TMDs.

‘These are semiconductors, which by-pass the problem of the band gap, so we now have a real transistor on the horizon.’

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