Texas researchers create silicene transistor
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have created the first transistors made of silicene. The research is said to hold the promise of building dramatically faster, smaller and more efficient computer chips.
Silicene, made of a one atom thick layer of silicon atoms, is said to have outstanding electrical properties but has proved difficult to produce and work with.
Until a few years ago, silicene was a theoretical material. However, when they looked at graphene, researchers speculated that silicon atoms could be structured in a broadly similar way.
Deji Akinwande, an assistant professor at the university, said: "Apart from introducing a new player in the playground of 2D materials, silicene – with its close chemical affinity to silicon – suggests an opportunity in the road map of the semiconductor industry. The major breakthrough here is the efficient low-temperature manufacturing and fabrication of silicene devices for the first time."
Akinwande worked with Alessandro Molle at the Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems in Agrate Brianza, Italy, to develop a method for fabricating silicene that reduced its exposure to air.
In the near term, Akinwande will continue to investigate new structures and methods for creating silicene, which may lead to low energy, high speed digital chips.
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