Black phosphorus is gaining interest of researchers, particularly chemists and material scientists and semiconductor device engineers. A crystalline material – black phosphorus – is gaining popularity to create high-quality atomically thin films.
Meanwhile, featured as a 2D layered substance, black phosphorus serves to be highly suitable for applications in next-gen flexible electronics. These electronics could enable advancements in medical imaging, semiconductors, night vision and optical communication networks.
Black phosphorus vies to substitute graphene and silicon because of its outstanding tunable bandgap properties, which graphene lacks. By definition, a bandgap is an energy band wherein electrons can’t exist. A bandgap is essential to create the on/off flow of electrons as a prerequisite of digital logic and for the production of photons for lasers and LEDs.
Unattractive Properties make Black Phosphorus active Topic of Debate among researchers
Unfortunately, black phosphorus is difficult to synthesize and difficult to store. It degraded quickly on exposure to air. The reason for this, and the active mechanism for this decay remains a topic of debate in research communities.
And, for the first time, Vanderbilt engineering researchers have showcased how black phosphorus and oxygen react can be noticed at the atomic scale employing in-situ transmission electron microscopy.
The findings are published in the Applied Materials and Interfaces journal of the American Chemical Society under the paper ‘Visualizing Oxidation Mechanisms in Few- Layered Black Phosphorus via In Situ Transmission Electron Microscopy.
In research, many a time different and often conflicting hypotheses exist in the scientific community. Nonetheless, the ability to notice a reaction in real-time at atomic resolution offers the required clarity to propel advancements. For this, researchers used insights gathered from in-situ experiments carried out in the lab at atomic resolution to develop new methods for synthesis and preservation of black phosphorus.