Title: Designing Inorganic Semiconductors with Cold-Rolling Processability
Abstract: While metals can be readily processed and reshaped by cold rolling, most bulk inorganic semiconductors are brittle materials that tend to fracture when plastically deformed. Manufacturing thin sheets and foils of inorganic semiconductors is therefore a bottleneck problem, severely restricting their use in flexible electronic applications. It is recently reported that a few single-crystalline 2D van der Waals (vdW) semiconductors, such as InSe, are deformable under compressive stress. Here it is demonstrated that intralayer fracture toughness can be tailored via compositional design to make inorganic semiconductors processable by cold rolling. Systematic ab initio calculations covering a range of van der Waals semiconductors homologous to InSe are reported, leading to material-property maps that forecast trends in both the susceptibility to interlayer slip and the intralayer fracture toughness against cracking. GaSe is predicted, and experimentally confirmed, to be practically amenable to being rolled to large (three quarters) thickness reduction and length extension by a factor of three. The fracture toughness and cleavage energy are predicted to be 0.25 MPa m0.5 and 15 meV Å−2, respectively. The findings open a new realm of possibility for alloy selection and design toward processing-friendly group-III chalcogenides for practical applications.