Chipmakers Look To New Materials

Graphene, the wonder material rediscovered in 2004, and a host of other two-dimensional materials are gaining ground in manufacturing semiconductors as silicon’s usefulness begins to fade. And while there are a number of compounds in use already, such as gallium arsenide, gallium nitride, and silicon carbide, those materials generally are being confined to specific niche applications.

Transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs), a class of 2D materials derived from basic elements—principally tellurium, selenium, sulfur, and oxygen—are being widely explored by researchers for their use as semiconducting materials. These include molybdenum disulfide (MOS2), molybdenum diselenide (MOSe2), molybdenum ditelluride and molybdenum telluride (MOTe2), tungsten disulfide (WS2), and tungsten diselenide (WSe2), which are among the materials being tested for use in chips.

TMDCs are functioning as semiconductors in conjunction with (a carbon allotrope) as an electrical conductor, and monolayer hexagonal boron nitride (also known as white graphene) as an electrical insulator. These materials can be used in electronic devices, energy and harvesting devices, and for flexible and transparent substrates. TMDCs are also being combined with silicon substrates, to give good old silicon a few more years to shine. And 2D materials can be printed on paper substrates, opening up a whole new field of paper-based devices, such as sensors.

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Source: Semiconductor Engineering