Inorganic semiconductors such as silicon are indispensable in modern electronics because they possess tunable electrical conductivity between that of a metal and that of an insulator. The electrical conductivity of a semiconductor is controlled by its band gap, which is the energy difference between its valence and conduction bands; a narrow band gap results in increased conductivity because it is easier for an electron to move from the valence to the conduction band. However, inorganic semiconductors are brittle, which can lead to device failure and limits their application range, particularly in flexible electronics.
A group at Nagoya University recently discovered that an inorganic semiconductor behaved differently in the dark compared within the light. They found that crystals of zinc sulfide (ZnS), a representative inorganic semiconductor, were brittle when exposed to light but flexible when kept in the dark at room temperature. The findings were published in Science.
“The influence of complete darkness on the mechanical properties of inorganic semiconductors had not previously been investigated,” study co-author Atsutomo Nakamura says. “We found that ZnS crystals in complete darkness displayed much higher plasticity than those under light exposure.”
The ZnS crystals in the dark deformed plastically without fracture until a large strain of 45%. The team attributed the increased plasticity of the ZnS crystals in the dark to the high mobility of dislocations in complete darkness. Dislocations are a type of defect found in crystals and are known to influence crystal properties. Under light exposure, the ZnS crystals were brittle because their deformation mechanism was different from that in the dark.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.