2D Nanolattices project to explore Silicene as a new “fabric” for nanoelectronics

2D Nanolattices project to explore Silicene as a new “fabric” for nanoelectronics

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe

At a research stage, a two-dimensional, atom-thin silicon layer on a dense silver surface Ag(111) has been demonstrated at PCSI 2011, San Diego. The silicene layer exhibited a honeycomb arrangement like in graphene from which the new fabric’s name has been inspired. Leaders in silicene-like materials research from CNRS-CINaM and Université de Provence, Marseille and KU Leuven have come together with MOS device experts from IMEC, Leuven, CNR-IMM/MDM, Agrate near Milano, and NCSR Demokritos, Athens to explore silicene as one of the future materials of electronics beyond CMOS devices.

The consortium has put together a project named 2D-Nanolattices, which started on the 1st of June 2011, funded by the EU 7th Framework Program in Future and Emerging Technologies (FET). Coordinated by NCSR Demokritos, the initial goal of this project is to examine the electronic properties of 2D Si lattices for field effect electronic devices and demonstrate the feasibility of silicene-based devices.

From the current state of research, it seems that silicene-like material can be engineered if suitable metal substrates are used such as silver. Yet, it is not sure whether these layers form a true silicene equivalent to graphene. One of the goals of the project is to unambiguously prove the existence of silicene and understand why Ag and possibly other metals are so “friendly” to it.

To circumvent the screening properties of metal substrates which nullify field effects, the 2D-Nanolattices project will look at alternative substrates and capping layers with insulating properties to encapsulate silicene. These insulating materials made for example from aluminum nitride are designed to be very similar to silicene in the way atoms bond to each other to form layered structures. Moreover, they will be bonded to silicene with weak van der Waals forces so that they can offer a “safe shelter” to silicone allowing electric charge to flow fast and undistracted in the plane as in the case of graphene.

The consortium members believe that the work in 2D-Nanolattices is not merely a replication of graphene properties with silicon instead of carbon atoms. The project goes beyond that exploring a number of other potential 2D nanolattices and their combinations to show that 2D materials beyond graphene can be created with potentially new properties for useful devices.

The 2D world of nanolattices offers not only high speed but also a natural confinement of electronic transport in just one monolayer of lattice atoms, facilitating its manipulation in a very efficient way. This could make 2D nanolattices the ideal materials base for the future electronic devices offering high speed and low power /energy operation at the same time.


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