If you think silicon chips are an amazing feat of technology, you are about to get your mind blown. Researchers have successfully made the first sheet of single-atom thick silicene for use in transistors.

Graphene, which is also one atom thick, but is made from carbon, used to be the focus of researchers’ attention. However, computer engineer Deji Akinwande at the University of Texas recently created the first silicene-based transistors.


Silicene is, in theory, better for the tech-manufacturing world than graphene because computer chips are already made from silicon. Adjusting to the silicene process would be easier than converting to carbon-based chipmaking.

Silicene was first created in 2012 by Patrick Vogt of Technical University in Germany in collaboration with colleagues at Aix-Marseille University in France.

Akinwande was able to manipulate the complex material by “growing silicene on a thin film of silver capped with aluminum oxide.”

The resulting sheet of silicene is then affixed to a silicon dioxide wafer to create the transistors, which apparently allow the electrons to move through them with astonishing speed.

Researchers note that we are still years away from seeing silicene in our computers because it is difficult and costly to make in mass quantities. However, the fact that transistors have been successfully made proves that it is absolutely possible to see the materials used someday in the future.

Via: American Live Wire

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13 replies on “Ultra super fast processor chips made from silicene are on the horizon”

  1. “If you think silicone chips are an amazing feet of technology”

    Unless there’s a new kind of chip to use for breast implants, I think you are talking about “silicon” chips, not silicone.”

    1. Well, he is also talking about “feet”, so maybe he is referring to body parts.

      1. >he
        You mean “she”?

        Seeing how most of the articles today (02/05) are by Lory, is Brad taking a break from the site? Perhaps even permanently?

          1. Hehe. I’m around, but I’m in a different time zone and working a lot less at the moment. I’ve asked Lee and Lory to step in and help out, so you’ll see a lot more from them than usual for a little while.

  2. Isnt graphene a cleaner material than silicene? I mean carbon is carbon but silicene or its current version is very toxic and bad for the environment. Is there any kind of speed comparison between transistors made with each material yet? The expenditures to convert to either are going to be long term investments so I am not sure how much initial cost would come into play.
    Wish there was more info on the comparison between graphene and silicene

    1. There is no material comparison available to the public yet. However, MIT Technology Review does point out that graphene occurs naturally, while silicene must be grown in a lab. Graphene is also more stable than silicene.

    2. If it’s even a penny cheaper to go with silicene, chipmakers will go that route. Large corporations do not care even the slightest about the environment beyond appearances.

      1. There are long term costs when is bad for the environment. They will factor those in. But yes the first job of any business is to make as much profit as possible.

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