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Silicene Transistor Created

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 07:22AM

Since the discovery of graphene, researchers have been working to determine how its properties can be used and if other materials could be made with similar properties. One proposed material was silicene, which is an atom-thick sheet of silicon atoms and is very difficult to fabricate. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have found an easier way to work with it though, and used that method to build the world's first silicene transistors.

Both graphene and silicene are 2D materials with extraordinary electrical properties, but while graphene is a conductor, silicene is a semiconductor. This makes it of greater potential use for computers, but its fabrication limitations must be overcome, such as its reactivity with air. To work around this the Texas researchers worked with those at the Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems to reduce the exposure to air by growing silicene on a block of silver and then coating it with alumina. These protective layers made it possible to transfer the silicene to an oxidized-silicon substrate, and then remove some of the silver, leaving two electrodes with silicene between them.

Among the potential advantages to silicene transistors are very high speeds and great efficiency, while possibly also being easier for manufacturers to work with, as it is a form of silicon. Before it can get anywhere near our electronics though, better ways to make it need to be found, and that is what the researchers are looking into now.

Source: University of Texas at Austin

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