A new technique has been developed by a team of researchers at the North Carolina State University which allows for the creation of high-quality semiconductors thin films that are just one atom thick. Not only can the build on the small scale of one atom, but the technique can be scaled to create thin films sufficient to coat a wafer of two inches wide or beyond, meaning it could be used for actual production.
“This could be used to scale current semiconductor technologies down to the atomic scale – lasers, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), computer chips, anything. People have been talking about this concept for a long time, but it was not possible. With this discovery, I think it is possible,” said Dr. Linyou Cao, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and senior author of a paper on the work.
By using Molybdenum Sulfide (MoS2), which in its self is a fairly inexpensive semiconductor material that has many similar properties to that of materials already used in semiconductor processes, with the added ability that it can be “grown” in layers just one atom thick without compromising its properties.
“We can create wafer-scale MoS2 monolayer thin films, one atom thick, every time. We can also produce layers that are two, three or four atoms thick,” Said Dr. Cao.
Cao has already filed a patent for the new technique and is currently working on creating similar layers with different materials, creating field-effect transistors and even LEDs, but one thing is for certain is that this is a big discovery and it could have massive implications on the future of semiconductor manufacturing.
Source / Image Courtesy of XbitLabs