Characteristic for devices based on two-dimensional materials are their low size, weight and power requirements. This makes them advantageous for use in space instrumentation, including photovoltaics, batteries, electronics, sensors and light sources for long-distance quantum communication. Here we present a comprehensive study on combined radiation effects in Earth’s atmosphere on various devices based on these nanomaterials. Using theoretical modeling packages, we estimate relevant radiation levels and then expose field-effect transistors, single-photon sources and monolayers as building blocks for future electronics to γ-rays, protons and electrons. The devices show negligible change in performance after the irradiation, suggesting robust suitability for space use. Under excessive γ-radiation, however, monolayer WS2 shows decreased defect densities, identified by an increase in photoluminescence, carrier lifetime and a change in doping ratio proportional to the photon flux. The underlying mechanism is traced back to radiation-induced defect healing, wherein dissociated oxygen passivates sulfur vacancies.

PhD candidate Tobias Vogl from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering with his research demonstrating atomically thin 2D materials.