The World Has Its First Functional 2D Microchip

The World Has Its First Functional 2D Microchip

A groundbreaking achievement in microelectronics has been reached with the successful development of the world’s first fully integrated microchip utilizing atomically thin two-dimensional materials. This milestone, which was accomplished at KAUST, highlights the potential of these exotic materials to enhance the performance and capabilities of microchip-based technologies.

SciTechDaily brings the news regarding the incredible achievement. Despite the challenges posed by the delicate nature of these thin films, the KAUST-led collaboration overcame obstacles and produced a prototype microchip, paving the way for advancements in microchip technology. The design of the chip was optimized to facilitate fabrication and minimize the impact of defects, employing standard semiconductor techniques and integrating the 2D material without causing damage.

Mario Lanza, a KAUST professor, explained:

We produced the 2D material — hexagonal boron nitride, or h-BN, on copper foil — and transferred it to the microchip using a low-temperature wet process, and we then formed electrodes over the top by conventional vacuum evaporation and photolithograpy, which are processes we have in-house,

In this way we produced a 5×5 array of one-transistor/one-memristor cells connected in a crossbar matrix.

Lanza also stated, as the same source quotes:

With this flagship breakthrough, we are now talking with leading semiconducting companies to keep working in this direction,

We are also considering installing our own wafer-scale industrial processing system for 2D materials at KAUST to advance this capability.

The incorporation of 2D h-BN with its unique properties allows for the creation of memristors, resistive components that can adjust their resistance through voltage application. The microchip demonstrated exceptional performance and reliability, particularly as a low-power neural network element, ushering in a new era of microelectronics.

The new study was published in Nature


Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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