Stephen Gee

Tuning the Catalyst Size of Helical van der Waals Crystals

This project is exploring the tunability of helical van der Waals nanowires. These nanoscale wires are made of layers of Germanium Sulfide stacked on top of each other, similar to graphite being made of stacked layers of graphene. However, in these nanowires, there is a literal twist running down the middle, resulting in a double helix structure that produces unique properties. This Eshelby twist links the twist rate of the nanowire with a dislocation in the middle of the nanowire, and the cross-sectional area. Through modulation of the catalyst size, the cross-sectional area, twist rate, and electronic properties of the nanowires can be tuned. Poly-l-lysine, a polymer, will be used to control the coalescence of the catalyst particles, allowing for the synthesis of thinner nanowires and altered properties.

Message to Sponsor

Thanks to SURF, I have been able to pursue my research and not have to work a job during the summer of my junior-senior year. This has been much appreciated, especially during COVID, when working other jobs could have put me at risk. I have been able to explore the theoretical part of my field, and this has allowed me to significantly broaden my understanding, as I had only done experimental work previously. This has given me the confidence to apply to graduate programs this fall.
  • Major: Materials Science, Engineering
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
  • Mentor: Jie Yao