2D materials for next generation computing

More Moore Y more than moore: what sounds like a tongue twister actually denotes two of the main research directions of the semiconductor industry. More Moore is an expression used to indicate efforts to prolong “Moore’s law,” which covers the relentless drive to reduce transistor size and integrate more, smaller, faster transistors onto each chip at the next manufacturing “node” . On the other hand, more than moore indicates, instead, the combination of digital and non-digital functions on the same chip, a trend also known as “CMOS+X”, which is becoming increasingly important with the advent of 5G connectivity and applications such as Internet of Things. things and autonomous driving.

Graphene and 2D materials are an extremely promising platform for these two research directions. For example, their extreme thinness makes them prime candidates to replace silicon as the channel material for nanosheet transistors in future technology nodes, allowing continuous dimensional scaling. Furthermore, 2D material-based devices can, in principle, integrate well with standard CMOS technology, and thus can be used to extend the capabilities of silicon chips with additional functionality, for example sensors, photonics, or memristive devices for neuromorphic computing.

“2D materials have the potential to become the ‘X factor’ in future integrated electronics,” says Max Lemme, Graphene Flagship Research Fellow, RWTH Aachen University, Germany, and lead author of the paper. “I anticipate that they will enter the market first in niche applications for specific sensors, as the requirements may be lower in terms of manufacturing technologies. But I am also convinced that 2D materials will play an important role in photonic integrated circuits and future neuromorphic computing applications. Here the field is still in its infancy, but the preliminary results are very promising.”

In fact, more than a dozen 2D materials have already been discovered that exhibit programmable resistive switching, the fundamental property for building devices (memristors) that can be used to mimic the behavior of synapses and neurons. While many fundamentals still need to be understood, early 2D material-based memristors have demonstrated competitive performance as well as a wide range of desirable non-computer features, such as non-cloning and radio frequency switching for memory systems. communication.

Another future field where 2D materials may play an important role is quantum technologies. “There is consistent evidence that 2D materials have great potential for solid-state quantum computing, as well as for quantum communications and new quantum sensing schemes,” says Christoph Stampfer of the Graphene Flagship partner RWTH Aachen University and co-author of paper. “Speaking of quantum computing, 2D materials are today between 8 and 12 years ahead of other platforms, such as silicon; for example, spinning qubits based on 2D materials are within reach but have yet to be demonstrated. However, the flexibility offered by the 2D platform could offer some important advantages in the medium and long term and allow overcoming some of the obstacles encountered by other platforms, such as spin-to-photon coupling”.

With this comment [article], we wanted to reach out to our colleagues outside of the 2D materials community first and foremost,” says Lemme. “We wanted to highlight the potential of 2D materials for those who are less familiar with the field, while also trying to give honest answers to the question of why there aren’t yet 2D-enabled integrated chips and electronics. There are still fundamental challenges that need to be resolved, but it is important that the semiconductor industry is aware of the advances made by the 2D community. It is time to intensify collaborations and make the most of these exciting materials.”

Reference

“2D Materials for the Heterogeneous Electronics of the Future”
Max C. Lemme, Deji Akinwande, Cedric Huyghebaert, Christoph Stampfer
nature communications 13, 1392 (2022).
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-29001-4

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