University of Geneva – June 5, 2014
With the support of the Association MaNEP Switzerland Network
See the detailed program of the workshop 


The discovery of graphene – a one-atom-thick honeycomb lattice entirely made of Carbon – has started a revolution in our way to look at electronic materials. The mere existence of graphene under ambient conditions shows that materials at the atomic scale can be produced and controlled, that they can be chemically and mechanically stable, and that they can possess impressively high quality, at a level that is rarely matched even by much more established material systems. Graphene has shown that at the atomic scale, the electronic properties of materials depend very strongly on their thickness: for instance, mono-, bi-, and tri-layer graphene exhibit very different behavior, and certainly have to be considered as entirely distinct electronic systems. Motivated by these findings, research on other 2D, atomically thin electronic systems has started, and grown in intensity during the last two-three years. Examples of 2D materials that are being investigated include atomically thin layers of many different transition metal dichalcogenides, of phosporene (single layer of black phosphorus), GaS, TiO2, and more. Depending on the specific system considered, different aspects of the electronic properties are relevant, including transport properties, optical processes, the evolution of the band-structure with thickness, interaction effects, possible magnetic or spin-related phenomena, and more.

One class of compounds that is extremely rich in this context is formed by the transition metal dichalcogenides, layered materials with chemical formula MX2 (M a transition metal atom, and X = S, Se, Te). In the bulk, these systems have been investigated for a long time, because they exhibit a plethora of interesting phenomena, including superconductivity, charge density waves, metallic, semi-metallic, and semi-conducting behavior. At the atomic scale, work has started recently, focusing mainly on the semiconducting 2D systems, which possess novel and extremely interesting electronic and opto-electronic properties, and which can be very effectively gate-tuned. Even though the field has started only recently, many results have been obtained. Different research groups have started to put considerable effort in this area of research, whose work has put in evidence new interesting phenomena and led to many new questions. In Switzerland, an increasingly large number of research groups are involved in the field, doing research at a top international level.

In view of the current situation, and of the growing interest in these research activities, it seems beneficial to bring together all interested scientists in Switzerland to establish contact between the different active groups. As an effective way to do so, we are organizing a one-day workshop on June 5, 2014 at the University of Geneva, which will be based on oral contributions from representatives of these groups. We expect that this will be only the first instance of this type of meeting, and that –given the growing interest– similar initiatives will be recurrent in the future.

Prof. Alberto Morpurgo
University of Geneva

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