The joint efforts of a team of researchers from the Laboratory of Nanoscale Electronics and Structures in Lausanne (LANES), Switzerland, have produced a new semiconducting material, made with molybdenite (MoS2). The new discovery could have important applications in transistors that are superior to silicon or graphene-based ones, in terms of size and energy efficiency.
Found abundantly in nature, molybdenite proved itself as a very good semiconductor, but had not yet been used in electronics, so far. It is nevertheless used as an element in steel alloys or in lubricants, as an additive.
EPFL professor Andras Kis says it could be used in fabricating very small transistors, LEDs and solar cells, and outperforms graphene as far as production costs and ease of fabrication concern.
“In a 0.65-nanometer-thick sheet of MoS2, the electrons can move around as easily as in a 2-nanometer-thick sheet of silicon,” explains Kis. “But it’s not currently possible to fabricate a sheet of silicon as thin as a monolayer sheet of MoS2.”
Kis says molybdenite-based transistors can consume 100,000 times less energy in standby mode than silicon ones. It’s far superior to graphene in semiconducting applications because it’s very hard to create a bandgap (electron-free spaces) in graphene, while molybdenite already has a 1.8 electron-volt gap.