Indian-origin engineer’s discovery may help speed up gadgets

A team at the University of Utah led by an Indian-origin engineer, Professor Ashutosh Tiwari, has discovered a new kind of 2D semi-conducting material for electronics that opens the door for much speedier computers and smartphones that consume a lot less power.

The semi-conductor, made of tin and oxygen or tin monoxide (SnO) is a layer of 2D material only one atom thick, allowing electrical charges to move through it much faster than conventional 3D materials such as silicon.

This material could be used in transistors, the lifeblood of all electronic devices such as computer processors and graphics processors in desktop computers and mobile devices.

Transistors and other components used in electronic devices are currently made of 3D materials such as silicon and consist of multiple layers on a glass substrate. But the downside to 3D materials is that electrons bounce around inside the layers in all directions. The benefit of 2D materials is that the material is made of one layer the thickness of just one or two atoms. Consequently, the electrons can only move in one layer so it’s much faster.

Transistors made of 2D material could lead to computers and smartphones that are over 100 times faster than regular devices there will be less friction, meaning the processors will not get as hot as normal computer chips. They will also require much less power to run, a boon for mobile electronics that have to run on battery power.


2-Dimensional materials are a class of nano materials, with a thickness of a few nanometres, defined by their property of being merely one or two atoms thick. Two-dimensional (2D) materials, consisting of a limited number of crystalline layers of atomic thickness, display electronic properties that differ drastically from those of their bulk parent compounds. Electrons in these materials are free to move in the two-dimensional plane. In 2010 the Nobel committee awarded the Prize in Physics to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov for ground breaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene.

Two-dimensional planes of atoms or molecules can be stronger, more flexible, and better conductors of heat and electricity than their bulk counterparts. Thanks to those advantages, the materials are promising candidates for previously unimagined high-tech applications in computing, energy generation, nanodevices, and more.

What’s more, 2D materials are “all surface,” meaning their entire chemical structure is exposed and can be potentially modified to further optimize the materials’ properties

Graphene‘s incredible strength, conductivity and flexibility have made it the “it” material of the science world right now Graphene is at this time the material most commonly associated with 2-D materials.  2-D materials possess remarkable properties in their ability to be exceptionally strong, lightweight, flexible, and excellent conductors of heat and electricity. Graphene for example is one million times thinner than paper, nearly transparent, and believed to be the strongest material in the world.

A semiconductor is a substance, usually a solid chemical element or compound, that can conduct electricity under some conditions but not others, making it a good medium for the control of electrical current.  Silicon is the best-known of these, forming the basis of most integrated circuits (ICs). Common semiconductor compounds include gallium arsenide, indium antimonide, and the oxides of most metals. Of these, gallium arsenide (GaAs) is widely used in low-noise, high-gain, weak-signal amplifying devices.



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