Researchers have utilized two-dimensional hybrid metal halides in a device that allows directional control of terahertz radiation generated by a spintronic scheme. The hybrid metal halide device has better signal efficiency than conventional terahertz generators, and is thinner, lighter and less expensive to produce.
Terahertz (THz) technologies have shown promise for applications ranging from faster computing and communications to sensitive detection equipment. However, creating reliable THz devices has been challenging due to their size, cost and energy conversion inefficiency.
“Ideally, THz devices of the future should be lightweight, low-cost and robust, but that has been difficult to achieve with current materials,” says Dali Sun, assistant professor of physics at North Carolina State University and co-corresponding author of the work. “In this work, we found that a 2D hybrid metal halide commonly used in solar cells and diodes, in conjunction with spintronics, may meet several of these requirements.”
The 2D hybrid metal halide in question is a popular and commercially available synthetic hybrid semiconductor: butyl ammonium lead iodine. Spintronics refers to controlling the spin of an electron, rather than just using its charge, in order to create energy.
Sun and colleagues from Argonne National Laboratories, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Oakland University created a device that layered the 2D hybrid metal halides with a ferromagnetic metal, then excited it with a laser, creating an ultrafast spin current that in turn generated THz radiation.