Researchers at the University Texas have discovered that silicene – a special type of silicon – can be used to create super-fast computer chips.
Computer engineer Deji Akinwande and his team discovered that silicene could soon be taken up as a production material by the semiconductor industry to create dramatically faster, smaller, and more efficient computer chips.
Human-made silicene is an atom-thin form of silicon with extraordinary electrical properties.
Its structure allows electrons to traverse the circuit without encountering as many objects (thereby making their journey faster), which results in faster chips.
But the big achievement here, Akinwande says, "is the efficient low-temperature manufacturing and fabrication of silicene devices for the first time."
The problem with this material is that it’s very unstable when in contact with air.
As Gizmag reports, the researchers developed a method for fabricating the silicene that places it between a thin layer of silver and a nanometer-thick layer of alumina. Those layers would serve as a protection, until the silicene is transferred to a silicon dioxide wafer.
After that, the silver would be scraped off to leave the two electrical contacts and a strip of silicene between them – a transistor.
The problem with such technology is that it may not work in commercial practice and might not be commercially available for a while yet.
As Gizmag reports, Akinwande will now look to find new methods for making the substance.
Silicene is considered a wonder material, and with the thickness of just a single layer of silicon atoms, it gives it extraordinary properties.