Since the 2003 discovery of the single-atom-thick carbon material known as graphene, there has been significant interest in other types of 2-D materials as well.
These materials could be stacked together like Lego bricks to form a range of devices with different functions, including operating as semiconductors. In this way, they could be used to create ultra-thin, flexible, transparent and wearable electronic devices.
However, separating a bulk crystal material into 2-D flakes for use in electronics has proven difficult to do on a commercial scale.
The existing process, in which individual flakes are split off from the bulk crystals by repeatedly stamping the crystals onto an adhesive tape, is unreliable and time-consuming, requiring many hours to harvest enough material and form a device.
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