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December 15, 2014

2D material stacking key to low cost semiconductors

Expensive equipment is currently used for the creation of semiconductor devices.

By CBR Staff Writer

Researchers from the North Carolina State University have claimed that the manufacturing cost of semiconductor devices like lasers, solar cells and LEDs can be reduced with 2D materials that are one atom thick, stacked together to facilitate the creation of semiconductor junctions.

When stacked together the semiconductor junctions will be able to transfer charge efficiently, even if the crystalline structure of the materials are mismatched.

Semiconductor junctions depend on efficient charge transfer between materials, so that the current flows smoothly with minimum wastage of energy during transfer.

In order to conduct the process the crystalline structures of both materials need to be compatible, which limits the materials that can be used.

The limited number of material matches restricts the functions for semiconductor junctions, with researchers presently using sophisticated processing methods and expensive equipment to match semiconductor junctions. This results in an increase of manufacturing cost of solar cells, lasers and LEDs.

According to the researchers, stacking 2-D materials will not require the crystalline structures to match, which will reduce the manufacturing cost to produce lasers and LEDs and make the products less expensive.

NC State assistant professor of materials science Dr. Linyou Cao said: "This work demonstrates that by stacking multiple two-dimensional (2-D) materials in random ways we can create semiconductor junctions that are as functional as those with perfect alignment."

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"This could make the manufacture of semiconductor devices an order of magnitude less expensive."

Cao added: "It’s as simple as stacking pieces of paper on top of each other – it doesn’t even matter if the edges of the paper line up."

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