U-M ME Professor Wei Lu and his student Hossein Rokni have released a paper in Nature Communications entitled “Direct measurements of interfacial adhesion in 2D materials and van der Waals heterostructures in ambient air.”
The research focuses on how an AFM-aided technique reveals new insights into nanoscale mechanics at vdW Heterointerfaces. Lu and Rokni have successfully quantified, for the first time, how different levels of short-range vdW and long-range electrostatic interactions respond to airborne contaminants and humidity upon thermal annealing. Their research breakthrough has shown that a simple, but very effective precooling treatment can project 2D crystal substrates against the airborne contaminants and thus boost the adhesion at the interface of similar and dissimilar vdW heterostructures. Their combined experimental and atomistic analysis also reveals a distinctive interfacial behavior in transition metal dichalcogenides and graphite/SiOx heterostructures beyond the widely accepted vdW interaction.
These findings could be of fundamental and technological importance for the mass production and continued development of promising vdW heterostructures and could affect the development of various 2D materials and electronic devices, including sensors.