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New Member of the 2D Semiconductors Family Enables Energy Efficient Devices

A newly discovered family of two-dimensional (2D) Semiconductors, according to researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), might pave the way for high-performance and energy-efficient electronics. Their discoveries, published in the journal npj 2D Materials and Applications, could lead to the manufacturing of semiconductor devices that can be used in everyday electronics and optoelectronics, and could even replace silicon-based device technology.

Moore’s rule, which outlines how the number of components in computer integrated circuits doubles every two years, is one well-known trend in the attempt to miniaturize electronic equipment. This trend is enabled by the shrinking size of transistors, which can now be so small that millions of them can be packed onto a chip the size of a fingernail. Engineers are beginning to wrestle with the intrinsic material constraints of silicon-based device technology as this trend continues. 2D Semiconductors are materials with a thickness of a few atoms.

Due to their nanoscale size, these materials are strong contenders as silicon substitutes in developing tiny electronic devices. However, when they come into touch with metals, many currently available 2D Semiconductors suffer from significant electrical resistance. Therefore, ohmic connections, or metal-semiconductor contacts without a Schottky barrier, attracted the team’s curiosity.

Ang and colleagues from Nanjing University, the National University of Singapore, and Zhejiang University demonstrated that a newly discovered family of 2D, MoSi2N4 and WSi2N4, form Ohmic contacts with the metals titanium, scandium, and nickel, which are widely used in the semiconductor device industry, in their study. The researchers also demonstrated that the novel materials are free of Fermi level pinning (FLP), limiting the application potential of traditional 2D Semiconductors.

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