Another Silicon Replacement Appears
Silicon has been at the heart of our electronics for decades, but all good things must come to an end. In the case of silicon, the end is well known though, as there are physical limits we cannot push past, without comprising the capability of the electronic we want to make. A commonly talked about replacement is graphene, a one-atom thick plane of carbon, but now another challenger is appearing; molybdenum disulfide or molybdenite. Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne has recently created a molybdenite based integrated circuit to prove it can surpass silicon.
While layers of silicon are limited to be no thinner than two nanometers thick (any smaller and it will oxidize), molybdenite can be just three atoms thick and still function in a chip. Molybdenite transistors can also be turned on and offer faster than silicon transistors, and allow for a more complete standby mode.
Increased performance at smaller scales while consuming less power; sounds pretty good. As with many new technologies though, they are more capable than some may first suspect. Molybdenite can also be used in flexible electronics and the material itself isn’t very uncommon in the Earth.