Context: Researchers have made computer based designs of nano-materials with superhigh piezoelectricity which can be the building blocks of futuristic nano-electronics for applications like ultrathin, next-generation nano-transistors.

More about the news:

The design is developed by scientists  from Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology.


Image: Piezoelectric Effect(Source: electronic

  • Piezoelectricity is the generation of electricity in certain materials upon application of pressure. 
  • Its applications have eased our daily lives through the use of lighters, pressure gauge, sensors and so on.
  • Piezoelectricity in 2D materials was first predicted theoretically in 2012 and later observed and confirmed experimentally in monolayer in 2014. 
  • Since then, there has been a surge in research interests in piezoelectricity in graphene-like two-dimensional (2D) materials. 
  • However, most of the 2D materials reported till date mainly show in-plane piezoelectricity, but for device-based applications, out-of-plane piezoelectricity is very much desired and sought after.

Graphene is a two-dimensional honeycomb arrangement of carbon atoms that is revolutionizing technology. Graphene is flexible, strong and transparent, too.

  • Nearly every material that we encounter is three-dimensional  and it’s just a beginning to understand how the properties of a material are changed when it is made into a two-dimensional array. 

Graphene Has the Best Electrical Conductivity of Any Material:

  • Most conductors we encounter are metals. Graphene is based on carbon, a nonmetal, yet electricity flows very quickly through the simple honeycomb sheet. 
  • This allows for the development of electricity to flow under conditions where we might not want a metal. 


  • Graphene conducts so much electricity in so small a space that it may be used to develop miniaturized super-fast computers and transistors
  • These devices should require a minuscule amount of power to support them. 

The new research: 

  • In their work funded by the Department of Science and Technology under Nanomission and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India the researchers have demonstrated induction of superhigh out-of-plane piezoelectricity via stacking one monolayer over the other in the 2D nanostructure.
  • The induction of this phenomenon is based on two-dimensional van der Waals heterostructure (vdWH) consisting of 2D monolayer.
    • A monolayer is a single, closely packed layer of atoms, molecules, or cells.
  • When two monolayers are stacked over one another to constitute a vdWH, various factors affect the electronic properties. 
  • The dipoles arising at the interface due to the large charge density difference between the two constituent monolayers result in such an ultrahigh value in out-of-plane piezoelectricity.

While strong covalent bonds provide in-plane stability of 2D the crystals, van der Waals heterostructures are materials where the atomically thin layers are not mixed through a chemical reaction but rather attached to each other via a weak so called van der Waals interaction – similar to how a sticky tape attaches to a flat surface.


  • With the continued trend in the miniaturization of electronic devices, there is a growing demand for superfast ultrathin nanodevices and nanotransistors. 
  • The nanostructures could be an essential ingredient or building block in constructing these kinds of nanodevices. 
  • The carrier mobility of the designed nano-materials have been found to exceed that for silicon and therefore, the ultrathin nanostructures thereby providing an insight into the building blocks in futuristic nano-electronics.
  • The computational materials can motivate experimentalists to fabricate nano devices with the desired functionality. 
  • Transistors used in the motherboard of Computers and Laptops are getting thinner and thinner with the passage of time. 

So, piezoelectric nanomaterials may be utilized in these ultrathin, next-generation nano-transistors through a synergistic coupling between piezoelectricity and electronics.


  • Nanomaterials are chemical substances or materials that are manufactured and used at a very small scale(atom). 
  • Nanomaterials are developed to exhibit novel characteristics compared to the same material without nanoscale features, such as increased strength, chemical reactivity or conductivity.
  • Presently, Nanotechnology focuses on the development, understanding, and use of materials at the nanoscale, or nanomaterials.