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2D Molybdenite Ultrathin Transistor: Creating Sleek Digital Devices

Question asked by kunal in #Coffee Room on Feb 15, 2011
kunal · Feb 15, 2011
Rank D1 - MASTER
Material engineering scientists and chemists all around the globe are trying to find new substances which demonstrate electronic properties that can be used to produce even smaller and sleeker digital devices so as to shrink the size of the silicon based processors and other circuits. The latest material that has been added to this list is the mineral called Molybdenite. This material is currently being used as lubricant in a large number of machines.


The compound is said to show a lot of promise for electronic applications. Researchers in Switzerland have created ultrathin nano transistors using the above mentioned mineral. The transistors are supposedly giving better performance as compared to the standard silicon based transistors. If these claims prove to be true then this could be the beginning of a new era in electronic circuit manufacturing of highly efficient and flexible solar cells, high-speed microprocessors, etc.

Last year, the world saw the scientists Andre Giem and Kostya Novoselov win the Nobel Prize for demonstrating that Graphene atom thick layers can substitute silicon for producing smaller digital circuits. This discovery aroused a great deal of interest among the chemists and researchers to test other thin 2 dimensional materials which have good electrical and optical properties. Graphene is called a 2 dimensional material because it is having a single atom thickness and is so thin that is appears to have zero length in the third dimension.

Molybdenite Semiconductor

Scientist Andras Kis along with a team of researchers from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) designed transistors using Molybdenite, a relatively cheap mineral. The methodology employed in the manufacturing process involved crushing the Molybdenite crystals placed between folded pieces of tapes. Afterwards, layers of the crystal are peeled off until a three atom thick layer of the material is left on the tape. This is deposited on a suitable substrate along with an insulating layer. Finally, gate, drain and source terminals are added using lithography to complete the transistor.

An important feature of Molybdenite is that is a semiconductor and inherently possesses a band gap thus providing discrete energy levels for the electrons to jump to. Graphene lacks in this respect and the process of forming a band gap in Graphene is quite complex. The band gap available in Molybdenite is particularly useful in solar cells, LEDs and other such electro optical devices. Let’s hope that this mineral proves to be a better substitute for silicon. This discovery has encouraged many experts to start their research on Molybdenite for creating super fast micro chips which are unimaginably small and efficient. Till then, silicon will continue to rock the electronic world. Posted in: #Coffee Room

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