Smaller and faster ‘nano’ devices are a step closer following the development of a new two-dimensional material by scientists at CSIRO and RMIT.
The material, adapted from graphene, has unique properties that encourage the free flow of electrons at ultra-high speeds, paving the way for devices that are smaller and transfer data at faster rates.
“The implication would be eventually this material would be deployed in the new generation of mobile phones and computers. They will be much faster and will have greater capabilities; data transfer will be much faster and connection to the internet will be almost instant,” said Dr Serge Zhuiykov of CSIRO.
Zhuiykov said industry benchmarks for electronic circuits range from 20-30 nanometres, but the new material has a thickness of just 5-10 nanometres. It was “beyond imagination” right now, he added, what the potential applications might be, adding it would be up to software developers to harness the new capability.
"The importance of our breakthrough is how quickly and fluently electrons – which conduct electricity – are able to flow through the new material," Zhuiykov said.
The new nano-material is made up of layers of crystal known as molybdenum oxides, with the layered sheets similar to graphite layers that make up a pencil's core.
RMIT Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh said the breakthrough lays the foundation for a new electronics revolution, but that more work would need to be done before actual gadgets could be developed using the new material.
Zhuiykov said the researchers hoped to licence the technology to Australian and international manufacturers for commercialisation within one to two years.
The researchers explain the development in a paper published in the January issue of materials science journal Advanced Materials.
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Issue: 347 | March 2016