Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Redesigned material could lead to lighter, faster electronics: Thin Layer of Germanium May Replace Silicon in Semiconductors

The element germanium in its natural state. Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed a technique for making one-atom-thick sheets of germanium for eventual use in electronics. Photo by Joshua Goldberger, courtesy of The Ohio State University.
The element germanium in its natural state. Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed a technique for making one-atom-thick sheets of germanium for eventual use in electronics. Photo by Joshua Goldberger, courtesy of The Ohio State University.

Abstract:
The same material that formed the first primitive transistors more than 60 years ago can be modified in a new way to advance future electronics, according to a new study.

Redesigned material could lead to lighter, faster electronics: Thin Layer of Germanium May Replace Silicon in Semiconductors

Columbus, OH | Posted on April 10th, 2013

Chemists at The Ohio State University have developed the technology for making a one-atom-thick sheet of germanium, and found that it conducts electrons more than ten times faster than silicon and five times faster than conventional germanium.

The material's structure is closely related to that of graphene—a much-touted two-dimensional material comprised of single layers of carbon atoms. As such, graphene shows unique properties compared to its more common multilayered counterpart, graphite. Graphene has yet to be used commercially, but experts have suggested that it could one day form faster computer chips, and maybe even function as a superconductor, so many labs are working to develop it.

Joshua Goldberger, assistant professor of chemistry at Ohio State, decided to take a different direction and focus on more traditional materials.

"Most people think of graphene as the electronic material of the future," Goldberger said. "But silicon and germanium are still the materials of the present. Sixty years' worth of brainpower has gone into developing techniques to make chips out of them. So we've been searching for unique forms of silicon and germanium with advantageous properties, to get the benefits of a new material but with less cost and using existing technology."

In a paper published online in the journal ACS Nano, he and his colleagues describe how they were able to create a stable, single layer of germanium atoms. In this form, the crystalline material is called germanane.

Researchers have tried to create germanane before. This is the first time anyone has succeeded at growing sufficient quantities of it to measure the material's properties in detail, and demonstrate that it is stable when exposed to air and water.

In nature, germanium tends to form multilayered crystals in which each atomic layer is bonded together; the single-atom layer is normally unstable. To get around this problem, Goldberger's team created multi-layered germanium crystals with calcium atoms wedged between the layers. Then they dissolved away the calcium with water, and plugged the empty chemical bonds that were left behind with hydrogen. The result: they were able to peel off individual layers of germanane.

Studded with hydrogen atoms, germanane is even more chemically stable than traditional silicon. It won't oxidize in air and water, as silicon does. That makes germanane easy to work with using conventional chip manufacturing techniques.

The primary thing that makes germanane desirable for optoelectronics is that it has what scientists call a "direct band gap," meaning that light is easily absorbed or emitted. Materials such as conventional silicon and germanium have indirect band gaps, meaning that it is much more difficult for the material to absorb or emit light.

"When you try to use a material with an indirect band gap on a solar cell, you have to make it pretty thick if you want enough energy to pass through it to be useful. A material with a direct band gap can do the same job with a piece of material 100 times thinner," Goldberger said.

The first-ever transistors were crafted from germanium in the late 1940s, and they were about the size of a thumbnail. Though transistors have grown microscopic since then—with millions of them packed into every computer chip—germanium still holds potential to advance electronics, the study showed.

According to the researchers' calculations, electrons can move through germanane ten times faster through silicon, and five times faster than through conventional germanium. The speed measurement is called electron mobility.

With its high mobility, germanane could thus carry the increased load in future high-powered computer chips.

"Mobility is important, because faster computer chips can only be made with faster mobility materials," Golberger said. "When you shrink transistors down to small scales, you need to use higher mobility materials or the transistors will just not work," Goldberger explained.

Next, the team is going to explore how to tune the properties of germanane by changing the configuration of the atoms in the single layer.

Lead author of the paper was Ohio State undergraduate chemistry student Elizabeth Bianco, who recently won the first place award for this research at the nationwide nanotechnology competition NDConnect, hosted by the University of Notre Dame. Other co-authors included Sheneve Butler and Shishi Jiang of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Oscar Restrepo and Wolfgang Windl of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

The research was supported in part by an allocation of computing time from the Ohio Supercomputing Center, with instrumentation provided by the Analytical Surface Facility in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Ohio State University Undergraduate Instrumental Analysis Program. Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Office, the Center for Emergent Materials at Ohio State, and the university's Materials Research Seed Grant Program.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Written by:
Pam Frost Gorder

614-292-9475

Joshua Goldberger
(614) 247-7438

Copyright © Ohio State University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Leti to Offer Updates on Silicon Photonics Successes at OFC in LA February 27th, 2015

Moving molecule writes letters: Caging of molecules allows investigation of equilibrium thermodynamics February 27th, 2015

Untangling DNA with a droplet of water, a pipet and a polymer: With the 'rolling droplet technique,' a DNA-injected water droplet rolls like a ball over a platelet, sticking the DNA to the plate surface February 27th, 2015

Maximum Precision in 3D Printing: New complete solution makes additive manufacturing standard for microfabrication February 26th, 2015

Graphene

Graphene shows potential as novel anti-cancer therapeutic strategy: University of Manchester scientists have used graphene to target and neutralise cancer stem cells while not harming other cells February 26th, 2015

European roadmap for graphene science and technology published February 25th, 2015

Graphene 2015: remarkable program online February 23rd, 2015

Penn researchers develop new technique for making molybdenum disulfide: Extra control over monolayer material with advantages over graphene February 19th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Warming up the world of superconductors: Clusters of aluminum metal atoms become superconductive at surprisingly high temperatures February 25th, 2015

SUNY Poly CNSE Researchers and Corporate Partners to Present Forty Papers at Globally Recognized Lithography Conference: SUNY Poly CNSE Research Group Awarded Both ‘Best Research Paper’ and ‘Best Research Poster’ at SPIE Advanced Lithography 2015 forum February 25th, 2015

European roadmap for graphene science and technology published February 25th, 2015

Dendrite eraser: New electrolyte rids batteries of short-circuiting fibers: Solution enables a battery with both high efficiency & current density February 24th, 2015

Chip Technology

New nanowire structure absorbs light efficiently: Dual-type nanowire arrays can be used in applications such as LEDs and solar cells February 25th, 2015

SUNY Poly CNSE Researchers and Corporate Partners to Present Forty Papers at Globally Recognized Lithography Conference: SUNY Poly CNSE Research Group Awarded Both ‘Best Research Paper’ and ‘Best Research Poster’ at SPIE Advanced Lithography 2015 forum February 25th, 2015

Ultra-thin nanowires can trap electron 'twisters' that disrupt superconductors February 24th, 2015

Silicon Catalyst Announces Partnership With imec to Support Semiconductor Start-Ups February 23rd, 2015

Discoveries

Leti to Offer Updates on Silicon Photonics Successes at OFC in LA February 27th, 2015

Moving molecule writes letters: Caging of molecules allows investigation of equilibrium thermodynamics February 27th, 2015

Untangling DNA with a droplet of water, a pipet and a polymer: With the 'rolling droplet technique,' a DNA-injected water droplet rolls like a ball over a platelet, sticking the DNA to the plate surface February 27th, 2015

Graphene shows potential as novel anti-cancer therapeutic strategy: University of Manchester scientists have used graphene to target and neutralise cancer stem cells while not harming other cells February 26th, 2015

Announcements

Leti to Offer Updates on Silicon Photonics Successes at OFC in LA February 27th, 2015

Moving molecule writes letters: Caging of molecules allows investigation of equilibrium thermodynamics February 27th, 2015

Untangling DNA with a droplet of water, a pipet and a polymer: With the 'rolling droplet technique,' a DNA-injected water droplet rolls like a ball over a platelet, sticking the DNA to the plate surface February 27th, 2015

Graphene shows potential as novel anti-cancer therapeutic strategy: University of Manchester scientists have used graphene to target and neutralise cancer stem cells while not harming other cells February 26th, 2015

Military

Simulating superconducting materials with ultracold atoms: Rice physicists build superconductor analog, observe antiferromagnetic order February 23rd, 2015

Perfect colors, captured with one ultra-thin lens: No need for color correction -- Harvard physicists' flat optics, using nanotechnology, get it right the first time February 19th, 2015

Penn researchers develop new technique for making molybdenum disulfide: Extra control over monolayer material with advantages over graphene February 19th, 2015

New nanogel for drug delivery: Self-healing gel can be injected into the body and act as a long-term drug depot February 19th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE