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Experimental and theoretical determination of van der Waals forces between and within two-dimensional materials

Project description

The ties that bind: a study of van der Waals forces in 2D materials

Van der Waals forces are the sum of relatively weak attractive and repulsive forces between electrically neutral atoms and molecules. Although the forces are relatively weak, they are important in numerous processes including adhesion, the stability of colloids, protein structure – and the interactions within and between 2D materials. With the support of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the vdWForcesIn2D project is conducting a comprehensive experimental and theoretical investigation of van der Waals forces in stacks of 2D materials and free-standing ones building on novel approaches for measurement of binding energies.


Two-dimensional (2D) materials have a rich structural diversity and therefore are of high interest for applications in material science, chemistry, and biology. Many applications rely on interfacial stacking of 2D materials, hence understanding interactions between and within 2D materials are of paramount importance. During this fellowship, we will develop a strategy enabling rapid and high-throughput measurements of van der Waals (vdW) forces between 2D materials and their binding energies with each other by using atomic force microscopy. In contrast to existing experimental techniques, we will conduct experiments in the multilayered thin films having various numbers of 2D sheets with metallic, semiconducting, and insulating electronic properties. For this, we will use a tipless cantilever for the long-range macroscopic vdW force measurements between large areas of surface in a fast and reliable way. Next, vdW force measurements within 2D materials will be realized with the help of a new hollow probe. This new construct will allow using freestanding 2D materials for making direct contact with a surface and measurement of binding energy in the format of adhesion energy. Since the binding energy experiments are more complex as highly affected by surface roughness, we believe that this new implementation will help to uncover those properties much accurately. In summary, our experiments will provide much needed experimental benchmarks for the development of theoretical vdW methodologies, analysis of which is proposed in the final work package, while allowing the researcher to reintegrate the European research community after a fruitful post-doc abroad.



Net EU contribution
€ 178 320,00

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Luxembourg Luxembourg Luxembourg
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 178 320,00