The research in professor Mario Lanza’s group is mainly dedicated to the development of micro and nanoelectronic devices using (mainly) advanced two dimensional (2D) materials. In the group we are in total 17 members (including postdocs), and we have a total amount of funding available of 1M€. With these resources, we are currently working on:
Non-volatile memory devices based on 2D materials (60%)
The impressive technology-driven development of modern societies during the last half-a-century has been possible thanks to the creation of new electronic devices that allow performing multiple complex operations, leading to the apparition of new jobs and services. Among all of them, non-volatile memories are essential elements of most advanced integrated circuits, as they allow storing information in an easy, cheap, and fast way. In our group we use advanced 2D materials (like graphene, hexagonal boron nitride and molybdenum disulfide) and device configurations (like resistive random access memories, RRAM) to enhance the capabilities of these devices, as well as to provide additional functionalities, such as flexibility and transparency. In this direction, our collaborators are: Jing Kong (MIT, USA), Phillip Wong (Stanford University, USA), Rainer Waser (Juelich Forschungszentrum, Germany), Luca Larcher (UNIMORE, Italy) and Xiaoming Xie (Chinese Academy of Sciences). Check our activity in this field in our publications section.
Field effect transistors made of 2D materials (15%)
Despite the apparition of new breaking device configurations (like the aforementioned RRAM memory), field effect transistors (FET) are still the core unit of most electronic circuits. In our group we are developing transistors using channels made of graphene and molybdenum disulfide. As the interface of these materials with traditional dielectrics (like SiO2, HfO2 and Al2O3) is very problematic, we are using layered two dimensional dielectrics, like hexagonal boron nitride. In this direction we like to concentrate in the study of the reliability of 2D dielectrics. In this direction, our collaborators are: Ernest Wu (IBM, USA) and Tibor Grasser (TU Wien, Austria). Check our recent papers in Applied Physics Letters and Microelectronics Engineering.
MEMS based on 2D materials (15%)
The first synthesis of graphene in 2004 opened up a new horizon in graphene and 2D materials research, as graphene properties could be for the first time experimentally characterized. After ten years of intensive research, graphene has shown unprecedented electronic, thermal, mechanical, magnetic and optical properties. Nevertheless, after more than 12 years working with 2D materials there is still a preoccupying lack of commercial applications. In our lab we also investigate the use of 2D materials in realistic electronic devices. For example, we have developed ultra-durable graphene-coated AFM tips using an industry-compatible fabrication method that allows production at low costs. Our invention, which is protected under an international patent, has already raised an investment of 550,000 €, as well as attracted the interest of the companies in the field. In this direction, our collaborators are: Andrea Ferrari (University of Cambridge, UK), Oliver Krause (NanoWorld, Germany) and Xiaoming Xie (Chinese Academy of Sciences). Visit our recent papers in Nanoscale and Advanced Materials.
Other multidisciplinary nanoscience research (10%)
As professor Lanza is a recognized world expert in the field of nanoscale characterization using scanning probe microscopes, we sporadically help other groups to perform some measurements in other research fields, including energy applications, local corrosion of ultra thin coatings and even air pollutants. In this specific direction, we recently discovered that fluffy soot aggregates from incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons are the most sticky and unstable, leading to a more diverse composition and compiling all possible toxic (see our Nature Scientific Reports paper). But our most relevant work out of microelectronics is in the field of water-splitting solar cells. Together with Stanford University colleagues, we have developed some of the most active and stable devices in the world. Visit our recent report in Science.