Remember those days when you could go an entire day without charging your phone? Nope? Neither do we. But a new kind of 2D semiconducting material for electronics could allow us to enjoy a full day of mobile phone use without having to worry about the battery dying.

Oh, and it could also allow for much faster computer processing—like, 'remarkably extended Moore's Law' faster processing.

The new semiconductor is made of tin monoxide, which is made up of the elements tin (obviously) and oxygen. The material is notable for being only one atom thick, which would allow electrical charges to pass through much faster than typical 3D materials currently being used.

To delve into this a bit more, today, most electronic devices are made using 3D materials like silicon—these consist of multiple layers on a glass substrate that cause electrons to bounce around the layers in different direction.

Discovered by a team led by Ashutosh Tiwari, a materials science and engineering associate professor from the University of Utah, the details of their research have recently been published in the journal, Advanced Electronic Materials.

Ashutosh Tiwari. Image Credit: Dan Hixson/University of Utah College of Engineering
Entering a 2D World

2D material is a fairly new research field—only a little over 5 years old—that holds a lot of promise. Everyday, scientists continue to discover new types of 2D materials such as graphene, molybdenun disulfide and borophene. The tin monoxide material discovered is now added to the list as the “first stable P-type 2D semiconductor material ever in existence” that allows the movement of both negative electrons and positive charges.

So what does this mean for the future of our electronic devices?

It means devices that required computing power will need much less energy to be able to run properly and efficiently. It could pave the way for impressively fast processing and significantly improved battery power for portable gadgets.

But the technology also lends itself to applications in the healthcare industry. For instance, it can be used for medical devices or electronic implants that can now run longer on a single battery charge.

Researchers are also optimistic about the development of the technology, noting that a prototype device should come in the next two or three years.


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