Exceptional plasticity in the bulk single-crystalline van der Waals semiconductor InSe

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Science  31 Jul 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6503, pp. 542-545
DOI: 10.1126/science.aba9778

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Deformable semiconductors

Semiconductors are usually brittle and do not deform easily. Wei et al. found that bulk single crystals of indium selenide instead have excellent flexibility (see the Perspective by Han). The deformability comes from the compliant intralayer bonding between indium and selenium. The authors used these observations along with a previously discovered silver sulfide to determine a deformability factor for materials that may help find other deformable semiconductors.

Science, this issue p. 542; see also p. 509


Inorganic semiconductors are vital for a number of critical applications but are almost universally brittle. Here, we report the superplastic deformability of indium selenide (InSe). Bulk single-crystalline InSe can be compressed by orders of magnitude and morphed into a Möbius strip or a simple origami at room temperature. The exceptional plasticity of this two-dimensional van der Waals inorganic semiconductor is attributed to the interlayer gliding and cross-layer dislocation slip that are mediated by the long-range In-Se Coulomb interaction across the van der Waals gap and soft intralayer In-Se bonding. We propose a combinatory deformability indicator (Ξ) to prescreen candidate bulk semiconductors for use in next-generation deformable or flexible electronics.

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