"One could develop high-performance LED displays that are transparent when powered off and flexible using the 'perfect' optoelectronic monolayers produced in this study," the researchers said. Monolayer semiconductors have generated a great deal of buzz as they hold promise in the development of transparent LED displays, ultra-high efficiency solar cells, photo detectors and nanoscale transistors.

But the films are notoriously riddled with defects, killing their performance. The UC-Berkeley team found a simple way to fix these defects through the use of an organic superacid. The chemical treatment led to a dramatic 100-fold increase in the material's photoluminescence quantum yield, a ratio describing the amount of light generated by the material versus the amount of energy put in.

The greater the emission of light, the higher the quantum yield and the better the material quality. The researchers enhanced the quantum yield for molybdenum disulfide, or MoS2, from less than one percent up to 100 percent by dipping the material into a superacid called bistriflimide, or TFSI.