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The Future of Electronics--Now in 2d

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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.

Credit: Joshua Goldberger/The Ohio State University

Ohio State University (OSU) researchers are developing ways to turn germanium into a potential replacement for silicon in electronics.

In 2013, OSU professor Joshua Goldberger created a one-atom-thick sheet of germanane, a form of germanium, and since then his team has been working to create hybrid versions of the material that incorporate atoms such as tin.

Other researchers have predicted a tin version of the material could conduct electricity with 100-percent efficiency at room temperature.

Goldberger's team has created germanane with up to 9-percent tin atoms incorporated, and shown that tin atoms have a strong preference to bond to hydroxide above and below the sheet.

The researchers want to exploit traditional silicon manufacturing methods to make it easier for the semiconductor to adopt the technology. "We've found that by tuning the nature of these bonds, we can tune the electronic structure of the material." Goldberger says. "So potentially we could make a material that traverses the entire electromagnetic spectrum, or absorbs different colors, depending on those bonds."

The researchers hope to make a material that transmits electrons 10 times faster than silicon, and is better at absorbing and emitting light.

From OSU News
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