Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

Sunday August 13, 2017

New Ultrathin Semiconductor Materials Found That Outdo Silicon

Stanford engineers have identified two semiconductors that share or even exceed some of silicon’s desirable traits: hafnium diselenide and zirconium diselenide. Like silicon, both materials "rust" when exposed to oxygen (required for isolating circuitry) and offer the right energy to switch transistors on, but diselenides can be fashioned into circuits just three atoms thick. These ultrathin semiconductors could be made into transistors 10 times smaller than anything possible with silicon today.

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"It’s a bit like rust, but a very desirable rust," said Eric Pop, an associate professor of electrical engineering, who co-authored with post-doctoral scholar Michal Mleczko a paper that appears in the journal Science Advances. The new materials can also be shrunk to functional circuits just three atoms thick and they require less energy than silicon circuits. Although still experimental, the researchers said the materials could be a step toward the kinds of thinner, more energy-efficient chips demanded by devices of the future.