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Can Ultra-Thin Semiconductor Extend Life Of Moore’s Law?

3 Jan , 2017  

Moore’s law refers to an observation made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965. He noticed that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since their invention.

And now, , according to a report in Nature Nanotechnology from a joint research team from the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham, a new semiconductor material is showing potential for super-fast electronics.

Like graphene, Indium Selenide (InSe) is only a few atoms thick. But graphene behaves more like a metal than a normal semiconductor, frustrating its potential for transistor-type applications. On the other hand, InSe has been shown to have electronic quality higher than that of silicon, with a large energy gap, allowing transistors to be easily switched on and off.

“Ultra-thin InSe seems to offer the golden middle ground between silicon and graphene,” says Sir Andre Geim, the Regius Professor and Royal Society Research Professor at The University of Manchester. “Similar to graphene, InSe offers a naturally thin body, allowing scaling to true nanometre dimensions.”

The Manchester researchers have had to overcome one major problem to create high-quality InSe devices. Being so thin, InSe is rapidly damaged by oxygen and the moisture present in the atmosphere. To avoid such damage, the devices were prepared in an argon atmosphere using new technologies developed at the National Graphene Institute. This allowed high-quality atomically-thin films of InSe for the first time. The electron mobility at room temperature was measured at 2,000 cm2/Vs, significantly higher than silicon.

The researchers believe that by following the methods now widely used to produce large-area graphene sheets, InSe could also soon be produced at a commercial level.


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