Chip just 3 atoms thick may lead to gen-next flexible devices

BOSTON:  Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have developed a way to mass-produce materials and electronics only three atoms thick that may pave way for next generation transparent and flexible devices.

The new materials may lead to windows that are also a television, or heads-up display on car windshields, said Kirby Smithe, a graduate student from Stanford University.

The team’s goal was to develop a manufacturing process to turn single-layer chips into practical realities.

Researchers, including Saurabh Suryavanshi, started with a single layer of material called molybdenum disulfide – a sheet of molybdenum atoms between two layers of sulphur.

Previous research had shown that molybdenum disulfide made a good switch, controlling electricity to create digital ones and zeroes.

The question was whether the team could manufacture a molybdenum disulfide crystal big enough to form a chip. That requires building a crystal roughly the size of a thumbnail.

The team manufactured that sheet by depositing three layers of atoms into a crystalline structure 25 million times wider than it is thick.

Smithe achieved this by making ingenious refinements to a manufacturing process called chemical vapour deposition.

This approach essentially incinerates small amounts of sulphur and molybdenum until the atoms vaporise like soot.

The atoms then deposit as an ultra-thin crystalline layer on a “handle” substrate, which can be glass or even silicon.

“We have a lot of work ahead to scale this process into circuits with larger scales and better performance. But we now have all the building blocks,” said Associate Professor Eric Pop, who led the study.

The research was published in the journal 2D Materials. (AGENCIES)


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