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Stanford Engineers Create Prototype Chip Just Three Atoms Thick


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The researchers etched a nanoscale image of the Stanford tree onto an ultrathin chip

A Stanford University team has demonstrated how it might be possible to mass-produce atomically thin materials and electronics.

Credit: Pop Lab

A team of Stanford University engineers led by professor Eric Pop has demonstrated the possibility of mass-producing a three-atom-thick semiconductor of molybdenum disulfide as an alternative to silicon.

By refining the process of chemical vapor deposition, the team fabricated a crystalline sheet 25 million times wider than it is thick.

Among the potential electronic advances this process could realize are windows that also function as TVs, or heads-up displays on car windshields, says Stanford graduate student Kirby Smithe.

Once the sheet was created, the researchers had to pattern the material into electrical switches. They found very clean deposition conditions can give rise to solid metallic contacts with the molybdenum disulfide layers.

The team has created precise computer simulations of the new materials and has started predicting how they behave as circuit elements.

The researchers also successfully etched the Stanford logo into the prototype chip with standard tools, as well as carving the likenesses of both 2016 U.S. presidential candidates into the three-atom-thick sheet.

"We have a lot of work ahead to scale this process into circuits with larger scales and better performance," Pop says. "But we now have all the building blocks."

From Stanford News
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