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Silicene Breakthrough

  • Researchers at the University of Texas recently created the first transistor based on silicene - an analogue of the 2-D carbon material Graphene. This seen as an important step towards the creation of superfast chips.

    Like graphene, silicene is a highly conductive substance, but unlike graphene it is inherently much more suitable for making transistor structures. In fact silicene displays many properties not found in graphene that make it potentially much more useful for electronics. It may even be suitable for the construction of spintronic and quantum computers due to its robust spin-orbital coupling.

    Unfortunately silicene does not occur naturally and is much more difficult to make in a stable form. It has to be contained in a sandwich like structure between two other materials such as silver or alumina, which means it will not be used for in mechanical engineering.

    The properties of other 2-D graphene analogues: germanene, stanene, borene and phosphorene are also being developed and have many promising applications in electronics.

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