Technique to mass produce single layer chips

1 min read

A team of Stanford researchers claim to have demonstrated how to manufacture atomically thin materials and electronics. Such thin materials would possess properties, including transparency and flexibility, which would enable electronic devices that wouldn’t be possible with silicon.

“What if your window was also a television, or you could have a heads-up display on the windshield of your car?” suggested graduate student Kirby Smithe.

The researchers started with a single layer of molybdenum disulphide (MoS2): a sheet of molybdenum atoms between two layers of sulphur. Previous research had apparently shown that MoS2 made a good switch.

The team manufactured a sheet by depositing three layers of atoms into a crystalline structure 25million times wider than it is thick. The researchers achieved this by making refinements to the chemical vapour deposition process.

To pattern the material into electrical switches, the team made use of a recent discovery that clean deposition conditions are essential to form good metallic contacts with the MoS2 layers.

New experimental data is also said to have enabled the researchers to craft accurate computer models of the materials to begin predicting their collective behaviour as circuit components. One of the models created was for field-effect transistors based on 2D semiconductors such as MoS2.

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