Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) is the newest addition to semiconductors in the optoelectronics field. Optoelectronics is the field of engineering that has produced great, useful machinery like X-rays, infrared and more. Now, engineers from the University of Buffalo's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have discovered a method wherein ultrathin semiconducting materials absorb light at a higher rate. In the abstract to their study, the engineers go a bit more in-depth into what they have been experimenting with. The study's name is  MoS2 monolayers on nanocavities: enhancement in light-matter interaction

Two-dimensional (2D) atomic crystals and van der Waals heterostructures constitute an emerging platform for developing new functional ultra-thin electronic and optoelectronic materials for novel energy-efficient devices. However, in most thin-film optical applications, there is a long-existing trade-off between the effectiveness of light-matter interactions and the thickness of semiconductor materials, especially when the materials are scaled down to atom thick dimensions. Consequently, enhancement strategies can introduce significant advances to these atomically thick materials and devices. 

Here we demonstrate enhanced absorption and photoluminescence generation from MOS2 monolayers coupled with a planar nanocavity. This nanocavity consists of an alumina nanolayer spacer sandwhiched between monolayer MoS2, increasing the exclusive absorption of monolayer MoS2 to nearly 70& at a wavelength of 450nm.

The nanocavity also modifies the spontaneous emission rate, providing an additional design freedom to control the interaction between light and 2D materials. 

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Credit: University of Boston

Qiaoqiang Gan, P.h.D, assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Buffalo's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences told PHYS: "The nanocavity we have developed has many potential applications. It could potentially be used to create more efficient and flexible solar panels and faster photodetectors for video cameras and other devices. It may even be used to produce hydrogen fuel through water splitting more efficiently." 

Ultra-thin solar panels would be most helpful to the future of energy storage that is gaining popularity in the world today. More energy efficient electronic devices could also revolutionize the 'smart' device industry as well.