Thursday, October 31, 2013

NC State Scientists Create Thin Film One Atom Thick

Researchers at North Carolina State University may have permanently wedged open the door leading to manufacturing products, software, and hardware on the atomic level:

Their latest method of thin-filmmaking can consistently create semi-conductor films that have a monolayer as thick as one atom; smaller than any previous endeavor.

Dr. Linyou Cao, assistant professor at NC State and senior author of the publication explaining the technique (which you can read here) translated to Product Design and Development, the implications. "This could be used to scale current semiconductor technologies down to the atomic scale – lasers, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), computer chips, anything.”, Cao says.

Using a new technique they dub "self-limiting growth", the team essentially found a way to manipulate particles' tendencies to form into solids or vapors under extreme temperatures.  By controlling these molecular pressures, the researchers were able to ensure when they would cancel each other out, thereby controlling how thick each monolayer could be, down to the initial atomic layer.

Semiconducting on the atomic level.
While this method has only been proven to creat semiconductor film sheets themselves, Cao has patented the method, and he and his team are now working on creating thin film wafers on the atomic level consisting of different materials.  The hope is this will lead to the next level of building complicated transistors and signal-technology; leading to computerized equipment the size of a particle.

Donal Thoms-Cappello is a freelance writer for Rotor Clip Company.

No comments:

Post a Comment