Honda Research Institute Synthesizes Nanomaterials in Breakthrough for Quantum Electronics

Honda Research Institute Synthesizes Nanomaterials in Breakthrough for Quantum Electronics.

Honda researchers develop new technology for growing atomically thin “nanoribbons” that can enable energy-efficient quantum devices.

December 13, 2021 — SAN JOSE, Calif. – Honda Research Institute USA, Inc. (HRI-US) scientists have created atomically thin “nanoribbons” – atomic-scale thickness, ribbon-shaped materials – with far-reaching implications for quantum electronics, the branch of physics concerned with the effects of quantum mechanics on electron behavior in matter. The ability to control the width of these two-dimensional materials to sub-10 nanometer (10-9 meter), resulting in quantum transport behavior at much higher temperatures than those grown using current methods, was demonstrated by HRI-synthesis US’s of an ultra-narrow two-dimensional material built of a single or double layer of atoms. The team of scientists with collaborators from Columbia and Rice Universities as well as Oak Ridge National Laboratory co-authored a new paper on the topic that was published in Science Advances and is available at:

HRI-US’s growing technology has the potential to bring quantum technologies such as quantum computing and sensing to higher temperatures than those required with currently used materials. Common fabrication methods so far mostly rely on techniques such as nanolithography, which print or etches nanometer-scale structures. By contrast, HRI-US scientists developed a method to controllably grow the materials by using nickel nanoparticles as a seed to control the width of two-dimensional materials such as molybdenum disulfide. The result is a much narrower width than those synthesized by conventional methods. The ultra-narrow (about 7-8 nanometers) two-dimensional materials grown by HRI-US researchers demonstrate quantum electron transport, known as Coulomb blockade oscillation, at temperatures of about 60 K (or -213oC), about 15 times higher than those materials synthesized by conventional methods about or less than 4 K (or -269oC), paving the way for more energy-efficient quantum devices.

“Our novel growth technology introduces the width as an additional degree of freedom in the atomically thin layered materials revealing and engineering their rich new electronic behaviors,” said Dr. Avetik Harutyunyan, senior chief scientist at HRI-US and the corresponding author of the paper in Science Advances. “The potential applications are extremely broad. We see immediate opportunities for the applications in the high speed, low-energy consumption electronics, spintronics, quantum sensing, quantum and neuromorphic computing.”

Honda Research Institute Synthesizes Nanomaterials in Breakthrough for Quantum Electronics
Model and DFT calculations. (A) Schematic illustration of the bidirectional growth of the bilayer MoS2 ribbons. (B) Energy diagram of the catalytic decomposition of MoS6 toward MoS2 unit on the Ni (111) surface. The insets are the relaxed structures of MoS6, MoS4, MoS3, and MoS2 molecules adsorbed on the Ni (111) surface. Yellow, red, and gray balls represent S, Mo, and Ni atoms, respectively. The numbers in parentheses are the nudged elastic band–calculated activation barriers (it is barrierless from MoS6 to MoS4 on the Ni surface), showing a rate-limiting barrier of 0.65 eV. Image from

 “This new synthesis technology represents an important breakthrough in the field of growth of 2D materials,” said Dr. Xufan Li, senior scientist at HRI-US and a lead author of the paper. “We were able to achieve atomic scale control over MoS2 nanoribbon width by using Ni nanoparticles as a seed that enables nanoribbon growth via vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) mechanism. Next we are thinking to control the edge structures of nanoribbons another way to amend their electronic properties.”

Scientists from two universities and a national laboratory contributed to the research that underpins the study of the qualities of the material created at HRI-US, including:

  • Dr. Baichang Li, Dr. Yang Liu, and Prof. James Hone, from the Mechanical Engineering Department and Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) at Columbia University, studied the electronic properties of the material.
  • Dr. Jincheng Lei, Dr. Ksenia V. Bets, and Prof. Boris I. Yakobson, from the Department of Materials Science and Nano Engineering, Rice University, provided theoretical studies on the material growth.
  • Dr. Xiahan Sang and Dr. Raymond R. Unocic, from the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, performed atomic resolution characterization of the material.
  • Emmanuel Okogbue, contributed to material synthesis while working as an intern at Honda Research Institute USA.

Honda Research Institute USA, Inc.

Honda Research Institute USA (HRI-US) conducts research to solve complex problems with direct applications to Honda’s current and future technology roadmap​, and develops strategic partnerships with public and private institutions to foster innovation. HRI-US was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Silicon Valley. Learn more at


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