Materials scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have shuffled layered compounds together, much like combining two different decks of cards. The technique can generate thermally stable three-dimensional heterostructures from layered transition metal dichalcogenides. These are van der Waals materials composed of metal nanolayers sandwiched between two other layers of chalcogens—sulfur, selenium, or tellurium. Similar to graphite, these compounds can be exfoliated into 2D layers, which display unique electron transport properties and quantum phenomena.
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