“Two-dimensional materials” — materials deposited in layers that are only a few atoms thick — are promising for both high-performance electronics and flexible, transparent electronics that could be layered onto physical surfaces to make computing ubiquitous.
The best-known 2-D material is graphene, which is a form of carbon, but recently researchers have been investigating other 2-D materials, such as molybdenum disulfide, which have their own, distinct advantages.
Producing useful electronics, however, requires integrating multiple 2-D materials in the same plane, which is a tough challenge. In 2015, researchers at King Abdullah University in Saudi Arabia developed a technique for depositing molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) next to tungsten diselenide (WSe2), with a very clean junction between the two materials. With a variation of the technique, researchers at Cornell University then found that they could induce long, straight wires of MoS2 — only a few atoms in diameter— to extend into the WSe2, while preserving the clean junction.