Designing very thin, flexible microcircuits has been a design goal for many years, but technical issues have hampered the miniaturization required for high performance. Researchers at Stanford seem to have succeeded in developing new technology that allows transistors to be atomic thick and less than 100 nm long. This is several times less than the previous record.
Microcircuits made using the new technology can be worn on the surface of the body or implanted into it.
Two-dimensional materials on flexible supports have long been considered a promising direction, but the difficulty lies in the fact that the high temperatures required for the formation of semiconductor devices destroy plastic substrates. Scientists at Stanford decided to form chains on a rigid substrate. On a glass-coated silicon substrate, a 2D film of molybdenum sulfide with a thickness of only three atoms was first formed, which was covered by a nanolayer of gold electrodes. To form a film of molybdenum sulfide, a temperature of about 850 ° C is required, at which the plastic substrate would collapse. The film was then transferred to a flexible substrate, whereupon transistors were formed on it in “several additional steps”. Although, according to scientists, the circuit could be completely fabricated on a solid substrate, and transferred already in finished form, some steps are better performed already on a flexible substrate. The thickness of the final product, including the substrate, turned out to be only 5 microns.
The resulting circuit is characterized by high speed and low power consumption. Researchers now intend to make RF circuits using this technology to enable flexible electronics to communicate wirelessly with other devices.
Scientists have not yet talked about the timing of the commercialization of the development.
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