The Making of "Transformer" Semiconductor Particles Using Multifunctional Tip-enhanced Spectroscopy

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Multifunctional tip-enhanced spectroscopy was shown to be able to control semiconductor particles to improve their luminous efficiency.

A new collaboration between researchers at the Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) in South Korea and ITMO University in St. Petersburg, Russia resulted in a new method being developed that can control the physical properties of semiconductor particles in real-time (1). The new method uses multifunctional tip-enhanced spectroscopy and dynamically controls semiconductor particles to improve their luminous efficiency by approximately 9,000 times (1).

As a term, multifunctional tip-enhanced spectroscopy is a technique used in materials science to analyze the properties of materials at the nanoscale (1). It involves using a sharp probe tip to create a high electric field that enhances the sensitivity of various spectroscopic measurements (1). The technique can be used to study the optical and electronic properties of materials; it also can interpret their chemical composition and surface structure (1). The technique holds promise for developing new types of semiconductor devices and optoelectronic materials by providing a way to dynamically control the physical properties of quasiparticles (1).

The team focused their work on interlayer excitons, which are electrically neutral quasiparticles that can be used in next-generation semiconductor devices because of their part light and part matter composition. The new technique can also modulate the luminous energy of the interlayer excitons, allowing researchers to control the color of the light. Semiconductor particles are microscopic particles made of materials that have electrical conductivity between that of a conductor and an insulator. These particles are used in various electronic devices, such as transistors, solar cells, and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

The team developed the new technology by using hot probe tip technology to increase the spatial resolution to 20 nm. This process allowed them to dynamically control the physical properties of quasiparticles under normal atmospheric pressure and room temperature. This breakthrough will be essential in developing high luminance, ultra-thin wearable optoelectronic devices.

The research team’s new method is expected to open up new possibilities for various applications of two-dimensional (2D) semiconductors based on heterostructures. The team hopes that the new technology will be used to identify new physical properties of individual semiconductor particles, which could lead to the discovery of new materials that go far beyond the performance of existing materials.


The achievement is especially significant in the current situation where countries like the United States, Japan, and China are vying for dominance in the semiconductor equipment market and putting up technology barriers. The researchers’ breakthrough in measuring instrument development contributed greatly to the outcome and garnered even more attention in the field.

This study represents a breakthrough towards creating wearable devices that are pliable and willowy while featuring various electrical and optical functionalities (1). Producing novel materials that improve upon the performance of existing materials is vital for developing next-generation materials for electronic applications (1).

In conclusion, the breakthrough by the POSTECH team is expected to have a significant impact on the development of next-generation semiconductor devices. The team’s new method for controlling the physical properties of semiconductor particles in real-time could pave the way for the creation of a new generation of wearable optoelectronic devices (1).


(1) Koo, Y.; Lee, H.; Ivanova, T.; Kefayati, A.; Perebeinos, V.; Khestanova, E.; Kravtsov, V.; Park, K.-D. Tunable interlayer excitons and switchable interlayer trions via dynamic near-field cavity. Light Sci. Appl. 2023, 12, 59.