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  1. Abstract

    Synthesizing patchy particles with predictive control over patch size, shape, placement and number has been highly sought-after for nanoparticle assembly research, but is fraught with challenges. Here we show that polymers can be designed to selectively adsorb onto nanoparticle surfaces already partially coated by other chains to drive the formation of patchy nanoparticles with broken symmetry. In our model system of triangular gold nanoparticles and polystyrene-b-polyacrylic acid patch, single- and double-patch nanoparticles are produced at high yield. These asymmetric single-patch nanoparticles are shown to assemble into self-limited patch‒patch connected bowties exhibiting intriguing plasmonic properties. To unveil the mechanism of symmetry-breaking patch formation, we develop a theory that accurately predicts our experimental observations at all scales—from patch patterning on nanoparticles, to the size/shape of the patches, to the particle assemblies driven by patch‒patch interactions. Both the experimental strategy and theoretical prediction extend to nanoparticles of other shapes such as octahedra and bipyramids. Our work provides an approach to leverage polymer interactions with nanoscale curved surfaces for asymmetric grafting in nanomaterials engineering.

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  2. Abstract

    Smart windows are energy‐efficient windows whose optical transparency can be switched between highly transparent and opaque states in response to incident solar illumination. Transparent and conductive metal nanomesh (NM) films are promising candidates for thermochromic smart windows due to their excellent thermal conductivity, high optical transparency at near infrared wavelengths, and outstanding stability. In this study, ZnO/Au/Al2O3NM films with periodicities of 200 and 370 nm are reported. The ZnO/Au/Al2O3NM film with a 370 nm periodicity exhibits a transmittance over 90% at 550 nm and sheet resistance lower than 20 Ω sq−1. Based on a standard figure of merit, this structure outperforms current state‐of‐the‐art NM films. Here, the integration of ZnO/Au/Al2O3NM films into a thermochromic perovskite smart window is also demonstrated. The transparency of the smart window structure is manipulated by transient resistive heating to trigger the thermochromic transition to the opaque state, which can be then maintained solely by 1‐sun, AM 1.5 G illumination. This climate‐adaptive, low power‐activated, and fast‐switching smart window structure opens new pathways toward its practical application in the real world.

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  3. Abstract

    Access to multimaterial polymers with spatially localized properties and robust interfaces is anticipated to enable new capabilities in soft robotics, such as smooth actuation for advanced medical and manufacturing technologies. Here, orthogonal initiation is used to create interpenetrating polymer networks (IPNs) with spatial control over morphology and mechanical properties. Base catalyzes the formation of a stiff and strong polyurethane, while blue LEDs initiate the formation of a soft and elastic polyacrylate. IPN morphology is controlled by when the LED is turned “on”, with large phase separation occurring for short time delays (≈1–2 min) and a mixed morphology for longer time delays (>5 min), which is supported by dynamic mechanical analysis, small angle X‐ray scattering, and atomic force microscopy. Through tailoring morphology, tensile moduli and fracture toughness can be tuned across ≈1–2 orders of magnitude. Moreover, a simple spring model is used to explain the observed mechanical behavior. Photopatterning produces “multimorphic” materials, where morphology is spatially localized with fine precision (<100 µm), while maintaining a uniform chemical composition throughout to mitigate interfacial failure. As a final demonstration, the fabrication of hinges represents a possible use case for multimorphic materials in soft robotics.

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  4. Abstract

    CMOS-based computing systems that employ the von Neumann architecture are relatively limited when it comes to parallel data storage and processing. In contrast, the human brain is a living computational signal processing unit that operates with extreme parallelism and energy efficiency. Although numerous neuromorphic electronic devices have emerged in the last decade, most of them are rigid or contain materials that are toxic to biological systems. In this work, we report on biocompatible bilayer graphene-based artificial synaptic transistors (BLAST) capable of mimicking synaptic behavior. The BLAST devices leverage a dry ion-selective membrane, enabling long-term potentiation, with ~50 aJ/µm2switching energy efficiency, at least an order of magnitude lower than previous reports on two-dimensional material-based artificial synapses. The devices show unique metaplasticity, a useful feature for generalizable deep neural networks, and we demonstrate that metaplastic BLASTs outperform ideal linear synapses in classic image classification tasks. With switching energy well below the 1 fJ energy estimated per biological synapse, the proposed devices are powerful candidates for bio-interfaced online learning, bridging the gap between artificial and biological neural networks.

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  5. Abstract

    The lattice thermal conductivity (κph) of metals and semimetals is limited by phonon‐phonon scattering at high temperatures and by electron‐phonon scattering at low temperatures or in some systems with weak phonon‐phonon scattering. Following the demonstration of a phonon band engineering approach to achieve an unusually high κphin semiconducting cubic‐boron arsenide (c‐BAs), recent theories have predicted ultrahigh κphof the semimetal tantalum nitride in the θ‐phase (θ‐TaN) with hexagonal tungsten carbide (WC) structure due to the combination of a small electron density of states near the Fermi level and a large phonon band gap, which suppress electron‐phonon and three‐phonon scattering, respectively. Here, measurements on the thermal and electrical transport properties of polycrystalline θ‐TaN converted from the ε phase via high‐pressure synthesis are reported. The measured thermal conductivity of the θ‐TaN samples shows weak temperature dependence above 200 K and reaches up to 90 Wm−1K−1, one order of magnitude higher than values reported for polycrystalline ε‐TaN and δ‐TaN thin films. These results agree with theoretical calculations that account for phonon scattering by 100 nm‐level grains and suggest κphincrease above the 249 Wm−1K−1value predicted for single‐crystal WC when the grain size of θ‐TaN is increased above 400 nm.

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  6. Abstract

    Monolayer molybdenum disulfide has been previously discovered to exhibit non-volatile resistive switching behavior in a vertical metal-insulator-metal structure, featuring ultra-thin sub-nanometer active layer thickness. However, the reliability of these nascent 2D-based memory devices was not previously investigated for practical applications. Here, we employ an electron irradiation treatment on monolayer MoS2film to modify the defect properties. Raman, photoluminescence, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurements have been performed to confirm the increasing amount of sulfur vacancies introduced by the e-beam irradiation process. The statistical electrical studies reveal the reliability can be improved by up to 1.5× for yield and 11× for average DC cycling endurance in the devices with a moderate radiation dose compared to unirradiated devices. Based on our previously proposed virtual conductive-point model with the metal ion substitution into sulfur vacancy, Monte Carlo simulations have been performed to illustrate the irradiation effect on device reliability, elucidating a clustering failure mechanism. This work provides an approach by electron irradiation to enhance the reliability of 2D memory devices and inspires further research in defect engineering to precisely control the switching properties for a wide range of applications from memory computing to radio-frequency switches.

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  7. Abstract

    A long‐standing pursuit in materials science is to identify suitable magnetic semiconductors for integrated information storage, processing, and transfer. Van der Waals magnets have brought forth new material candidates for this purpose. Recently, sharp exciton resonances in antiferromagnet NiPS3have been reported to correlate with magnetic order, that is, the exciton photoluminescence intensity diminishes above the Néel temperature. Here, it is found that the polarization of maximal exciton emission rotates locally, revealing three possible spin chain directions. This discovery establishes a new understanding of the antiferromagnet order hidden in previous neutron scattering and optical experiments. Furthermore, defect‐bound states are suggested as an alternative exciton formation mechanism that has yet to be explored in NiPS3. The supporting evidence includes chemical analysis, excitation power, and thickness dependent photoluminescence and first‐principles calculations. This mechanism for exciton formation is also consistent with the presence of strong phonon side bands. This study shows that anisotropic exciton photoluminescence can be used to read out local spin chain directions in antiferromagnets and realize multi‐functional devices via spin‐photon transduction.

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  8. Abstract

    In the superradiant phase transition (SRPT), coherent light and matter fields are expected to appear spontaneously in a coupled light–matter system in thermal equilibrium. However, such an equilibrium SRPT is forbidden in the case of charge-based light–matter coupling, known as no-go theorems. Here, we show that the low-temperature phase transition of ErFeO3at a critical temperature of approximately 4 K is an equilibrium SRPT achieved through coupling between Fe3+magnons and Er3+spins. By verifying the efficacy of our spin model using realistic parameters evaluated via terahertz magnetospectroscopy and magnetization experiments, we demonstrate that the cooperative, ultrastrong magnon–spin coupling causes the phase transition. In contrast to prior studies on laser-driven non-equilibrium SRPTs in atomic systems, the magnonic SRPT in ErFeO3occurs in thermal equilibrium in accordance with the originally envisioned SRPT, thereby yielding a unique ground state of a hybrid system in the ultrastrong coupling regime.

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  9. Fermi nesting

    Correlated states have been shown to emerge in bilayer and trilayer graphene with the two-dimensional layers at just the right angle with respect to each other. Key to the enhanced importance of interactions are the so-called moiré electronic bands that form in such systems. Rickhauset al. explored a related system of two graphene bilayers twisted with respect to each other. The twist angle was set so that the layer coupling was strong enough to form moiré bands but weak enough for the carrier concentration in the top and bottom bilayer to be controlled separately. Doping the top bilayer with electrons and the bottom bilayer with holes, the researchers created a correlated state with nested Fermi surfaces. —JS

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  10. Abstract

    Exotic quantum vacuum phenomena are predicted in cavity quantum electrodynamics systems with ultrastrong light-matter interactions. Their ground states are predicted to be vacuum squeezed states with suppressed quantum fluctuations owing to antiresonant terms in the Hamiltonian. However, such predictions have not been realized because antiresonant interactions are typically negligible compared to resonant interactions in light-matter systems. Here we report an unusual, ultrastrongly coupled matter-matter system of magnons that is analytically described by a unique Hamiltonian in which the relative importance of resonant and antiresonant interactions can be easily tuned and the latter can be made vastly dominant. We found a regime where vacuum Bloch-Siegert shifts, the hallmark of antiresonant interactions, greatly exceed analogous frequency shifts from resonant interactions. Further, we theoretically explored the system’s ground state and calculated up to 5.9 dB of quantum fluctuation suppression. These observations demonstrate that magnonic systems provide an ideal platform for exploring exotic quantum vacuum phenomena predicted in ultrastrongly coupled light-matter systems.

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