Researchers at the Cockrell School of Engineering have created the first transistors out of silicene, the world’s thinnest silicon material. This new “wonder material” could make computers and other electronics more efficient.
Made of a one-atom-thick layer of silicon atoms, silicene is incredibly promising in the semiconductor industry, but it’s also difficult to work with and faces some challenges before it can be used in practical applications. Deji Akinwande, assistant professor in the school’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and his team solved one of these challenges in demonstrating that silicene can be made into transistors — a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and electrical power.
Akinwande and his team’s first-of-their-kind devices represent the thinnest of any semiconductor material, a long-standing dream of the chip industry, and could pave the way for future generations of faster computer chips. The work was published today in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
Akinwande is the Jack Kilby/Texas Instruments Faculty Fellow in Computer Engineering and is a member of UT Austin's Nanomanufacturing Systems for Mobile Computing and Mobile Energy Technologies (NASCENT) Center.