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What is Black Phosphorus?

The crystal form of black phosphorus
Black phosphorus crystal

Black phosphorus is a crystalline allotrope of phosphorus. It is distinct from the more common white and red forms of phosphorous due to its unique structure and properties.

With good electrical conductivity, mechanical flexibility, and a high on/off ratio in field-effect transistors, black phosphorus is a desirable material for electronic components.

Black phosphorus is semiconducting in nature and has a two-dimensional layered structure consisting of individual layers stacked together through weak van der Waals forces. These layers can be separated with familiar techniques such as mechanical scotch-tape exfoliation or sonication of bulk-layered crystals. When the layered structure, which is similar to graphite, is exfoliated into thin sheets, this is known as phosphorene.

What is Phosphorene?

Phosphorene is the name given to a monolayer of black phosphorus. The term is also often used to describe several stacked monolayers, alternatively known as ‘few-layer phosphorene’ or ‘few-layer black phosphorus’.

Since the discovery of graphene, interest in 2D semiconducting materials has increased substantially. This form of phosphorus has gained attention for its potential applications in electronics and optoelectronics, particularly because it possesses a band gap that can be tuned by changing the number of layers in the material. This makes it a promising material for the development of transistors, photodetectors, and batteries.

Most notably, phosphorene is an intrinsic p-type semiconductor that possesses a finite and direct thickness dependant band gap. Substantial anisotropy in transport behaviour in few-layer phosphorene has been observed along different directions of the 2D crystal lattice, and this behaviour can be tuned by applying strain across the lattice.

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Black phosphorus crystals Black Phosphorus Uses and Applications

Due to the unique properties, exfoliated monolayer and few-layer black phosphorus have potential for a wide range of applications in electronics and optoelectronics.

Black phosphorus monolayer structure Black Phosphorus Structure

Black phosphorus has gained attention for its distinct structural properties when reduced to two-dimensional layers known as phosphorene.

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