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Researchers Build First Molybdenite Microchip 67

An anonymous reader writes "A Swiss team may have found an alternative to silicon microchips which could result in smaller, more flexible and less energy hungry processors. The Swiss team's chip does not use silicon, but molybdenite (MoS2) a dark-colored, naturally occurring mineral that is able to be used in much thinner layers (paywall)."
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Researchers Build First Molybdenite Microchip

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  • But (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @10:44AM (#38290626)
    But is it as common and cheap as silicon?
  • More info (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @12:20PM (#38291760) Homepage

    Moly disulfide is mostly known as a lubricant.

    Interesting, but I wouldn't sell my stocks in silicon electronics yet. Silicon is way down the learning curve. I wouldn't bet a new semiconductor against it.

    Some of what the article says is a little dubious, like the fact that silicon "The surface likes to oxidise - it likes to bind with oxygen... and that makes its electrical properties degrade when you want to make a very thin film." Yes, it forms oxide easily. No, that doesn't "degrade" the electrical properties-- in fact, this is exactly why silicon is so incredibly useful in electronics. Oxide, and the fact that silicon oxide passivates the surface to prevent electron-hole recombination at the dangling bonds, is what makes silicon electronics possible. I note that the moly disulfide transistors use hafnium oxide for a gate. That's a high dielectric constant material that is indeed also used in silicon, but the silicon oxide is still the critical interface.

    By the way, I think there's slightly better info from eetimes [] or physicsworld []

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