The applications of 2D materials are numerous and diverse, ranging from electronics to catalysis, and from information storage to medicine.
A Focus Issue just published in Nature Reviews Materials covers the synthesis and fundamental properties of several 2D materials, as well as the devices they enable, combining Reviews, Comments and Research Highlights. In particular, a Review by Manish Chhowalla explores the use of graphene, hexagonal boron nitride, transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs), phosphorene and silicene as channels in field-effect transistors. The emerging field of valleytronics and its implementation in graphene and TMDCs is the topic of a Review by John Schaibley, Xiaodong Xu and colleagues. Beyond electronics, graphene (and, more in general, carbon-based materials) is attracting growing interest as a low-cost catalyst for renewable energy production and storage: the use of heteroatom-doped graphene as a metal-free catalyst is the topic of a Review by Xien Liu and Liming Dai. In another Review, by Castro Neto and colleagues, the synthesis, properties and applications of phosphorene are discussed.
There is clearly a lot of fundamental research being carried out on 2D materials; however, it is also necessary to address their translation into commercial or medical devices. This problem is analyzed in two Comments, one by Seongjun Park and one by Kostas Kostarelos. A common theme emerging from these opinion pieces is the need for stronger collaboration between academia and industry or medical professionals.
As it was argued in other posts in this blog, the road to the commercialization of 2D-materials-based products is still long, and many challenges lie ahead. But numerous exciting developments in the field of 2D materials are keeping researchers busy, and we hope that the overview provided in this Focus Issue will be a useful tool for the community to explore them.
Giulia Pacchioni (Nature Reviews Materials)