Silicon might now lose its ubiquity as a computer chip building material, as it might face some competition from a new version of an old substance called black phosphorus.
Researchers working at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) have created a high performance transistor using black phosphorus (BP) which can be used as a replacement of silicon in the chip making process. With the BP crystal, researchers have discovered that they can change its thickness or the contact metals and that will determine if it is high performance n-type, p-type, or ambipolar material.
Researchers claim that replacing silicon with BP would mean that instead of having to fabricate a silicon-arsenic crystal sandwiched between silicon-boron crystals, a transistor could have a single, lightweight, pure black phosphorus logic chip with no doping required. Further, the importance of this replacement is explained by the fact that technology manufacturers have been in an arms race to make their devices lighter, smaller and more efficient, and by using BP that is only several atomic layers thick, transistors could be made smaller and more energy efficient than what exists now.
Researcher Perello explains that the driving force in back phosphorus is the carrier mobility and everything centers on that as the fact that the band gap changes with thickness has also given them flexibility in circuit design. Though the researchers say that BP is not ready for commercial use in the present situation as its potential has just started to be recognized but it can soon turn to be a big thing.
The research is published in the Journal Nature Communications.