Semiconductors, which are the basic building blocks of transistors, microprocessors, lasers, and LEDs, have driven advances in computing, memory, communications, and lighting technologies since the mid-20th century. Recently discovered two-dimensional materials, which feature many superlative properties, have the potential to advance these technologies, but creating 2D devices with both good electrical contacts and stable performance has proved challenging.
Researchers at Columbia Engineering report that they have demonstrated a nearly ideal transistor made from a two-dimensional (2D) material stack – with only a two-atom-thick semiconducting layer – by developing a completely clean and damage-free fabrication process. Their method shows vastly improved performance compared to 2D semiconductors fabricated with a conventional process, and could provide a scalable platform for creating ultra-clean devices in the future. The study was published today in Nature Electronics.
“Making devices out of 2D materials is a messy business,” says James Teherani, assistant professor of electrical engineering. “Devices vary wildly from run to run and often degrade so fast that you see performance diminish while you’re still measuring them.”