Promises, Problems, and Practicalities of Nanomaterials in Transistors

A. Franklin
Duke University,
United States

Keywords: nanomaterials, nanoelectronics, transistors


Research into the many exciting possible applications of nanomaterials has exploded over the past twenty years. One of the foremost areas of interest is in the various forms of electronics that could be improved or enabled by harnessing the unique properties of nanomaterials. While consumers continue to see a world of ever-improving technological gadgets, the underlying hardware has run into many ominous challenges. For instance, Moore’s Law, the well-known marching orders of increased transistor count every generation of integrated circuit technology, has struggled and, according to some, reached its end. Based on the foreboding scalability and power challenges of silicon transistors, innovation in the semiconductor industry is imperative. Many researchers have proposed that nanomaterials can provide remedies for the woes of silicon-based technology in addition to opening the way for completely new electronic platforms. From 1D carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to 2D nanomaterials (including graphene, transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), and the so-called X-enes), a big picture perspective of this growing list of options and their potential for facilitating new applications will be reviewed in this talk. The TMD and X-ene crystals have become especially popular due to their true 2D structure combined with an intrinsic band gap—the envy of their counterpart, graphene. In addition to the promises, some of the remaining problems to realizing a nanomaterial transistor technology, including the material purification and placement, will then be considered along with a few of the latest developments toward overcoming these obstacles. Finally, a brief review of how these nanomaterials could impact other aspects of electronics will be considered, including their ability to usher in a completely new form factor for computing. Will we ever see the end of silicon computing? Will nanomaterials be the ones to save the day? Will the only future for nanomaterial electronics be one that is orthogonal to silicon? While definite answers to these questions are out of reach, this talk will provide helpful information for considering them, including a summary of the major promises, problems, and practicalities offered by nanomaterial-driven electronics.