Researchers at Tokyo Metropolitan University compared the structures of different materials after heat exposure. They concluded that poor adhesion between layers helps reduce heat transfer. The discovery of scientists will allow to control the heat flow at the nanoscale in thermoelectric devices.

A team of scientists led by Professor Kazuhiro Yanagi is working on methods for producing and processing materials with ultra-thin layers – dichalcogenides.

In the study, they took one atom-thick layers of molybdenum disulfide and molybdenum diselenide and put them together, comparing the resulting structure to “lasagne” due to alternating layers. Having conducted heat through them, the researchers concluded that the structural mismatch of the layers reduces the level of heat transfer by a factor of 10 compared to the bonded layers.

Thanks to this discovery, scientists will be able to control heat flows at the nanoscale and develop ultra-thin, ultralight insulators. And also to produce thermoelectric materials in which heat can be converted into electricity.