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SnO: First Stable P-Type 2D Semiconductor Discovered (phys.org) 63

New submitter Namarrgon writes: Transistors made with Ashutosh Tiwari's new semiconducting material could lead to computers and smartphones that are more than 100 times faster than regular devices. While researchers in this field have recently discovered new types of 2D material such as graphene, molybdenun disulfide and borophene, they have been materials that only allow the movement of N-type, or negative, electrons. In order to create an electronic device, however, you need semiconductor material that allows the movement of both negative electrons and positive charges known as "holes." The tin monoxide material discovered by Tiwari and his team at the University of Utah is the first stable P-type 2D semiconductor material ever in existence.
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SnO: First Stable P-Type 2D Semiconductor Discovered

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  • No, you don't (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @01:15PM (#51520839)

    Vacuum tubes work marvelously well with only electrons.

    • Re:No, you don't (Score:5, Informative)

      by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @01:40PM (#51521087) Homepage Journal

      n-type (negative) electrons

      ha

      ha ha ha

      blargh hah ha hah ha

      N-type semiconductors... the materials have excess electrons, and leverage that.

      P-type semiconductors... the materials have an electron deficit, creating "holes" in the structure, and the material leverages those deficits.

      There are no "positive" electrons. Well, there are, sort of, but they have little to nothing to do with n-type and p-type materials. Unless physics has completely rewritten semiconductor theory while I wasn't looking, which I suppose is possible.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

        PS: New leadership: Would you *please* consider hiring some editors that are at least somewhat technically competent? It would also be nice if, you know, they could... edit the written word competently. The best that can be said of slashdot's "editors" to date is that they have been a constant source of amusement for some. Wouldn't it be amazing if TFS's that actually hit the site were edited into well written presentations? Well, it would be for me. Reading most of them so far has been like being poked in

      • Isn't it obvious that what was meant here was

        allow the movement of N-type, or negative [charges], electrons.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          No, it's not obvious, because N-type or P-type refers to a MATERIAL, not a charge or a particle.

      • Also, it's not really 2D since it's made of atoms and atoms are 3D. Do I win the pedantry contest or what?

        Also, technically, it's not enough to have both P-type and N-type semi-conductors. You also need to be able to produce them cheaply and precisely and by the billions, both types next to each other. So, technically, don't expect to see this used for anything ever until they solve those problems.

        • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
          "2D" materials actually have 2 dimensional properties. In a mathematical 2D world, resistance is less because of fewer dimensions of potential movement. It seems that if you make really thin layers of stuff, the resistance works out to perfectly match that of these hypothetical 2D flat lands.
    • Vacuum tubes work marvelously well with only electrons.

      If by "marvelously well" you mean with high random noise levels, comparatively low current capacities, and comparatively huge volume requirements, sure.

      And if by "only electrons" you mean "only electrons, neutrons, protons, electromagnetic fields and - of course - vacuum, sure.

      • by plover ( 150551 )

        I have to agree with the OP, at least in a literal sense. Vacuum tubes were indeed "marvels", as people marveled at their function; so to call them marvelous is absolutely correct. You can also say they work marvelously well when compared to electrical devices such as relays. He didn't claim they were efficient, cool, small, low-voltage, short-lived, solid-state, distortion-free, or noise-rejecting. Doesn't mean they weren't marvels.

        </nits_picked>

    • more importantly you can get rectifier and transistor action with n-type and certain metals; don't need a p type at all

    • Vacuum tubes? Yeah, my friend really enjoys waiting 15 minutes for his tube amp to warm up before he can listen to his electrostatic speakers... (although after the 500W amp is warmed up, it does sound really good.)
  • by sanosuke001 ( 640243 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @01:15PM (#51520841)
    Tin + Oxygen sounds a lot cheaper (and more readily available) than those iridium, molybdenum, etc compounds, too
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      In the quantities that would be needed for the average piece of electronics, cost is really not an issue. Availability could be though.
  • Is that the same Ashutosh Tiwari I did shots with at the Indian Institute of Technology?
  • Negative charges (Score:5, Informative)

    by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @01:32PM (#51521015)

    they have been materials that only allow the movement of N-type, or negative, electrons. In order to create an electronic device, however, you need semiconductor material that allows the movement of both negative electrons and positive charges known as "holes."

    Captain pedantic here. Electron holes [wikipedia.org] are not positive charges. They are the absence of an electron in a lattice where one could exist. This "hole" can be treated for convenience and practicality like a positively charged particle but that isn't technically the same thing.

    • As much as I remember 'bout PNP and NPN questions on my radio technician's licensing test from when I was 11, the whole description is a journalistic goofusism.

      What I remember is the semiconductor substrate is doped to favor a particular charge--positive or negative--and so it acts according in an electrical circuit. If you have two N-type materials wired into a circuit with a P-type material separating them, the N-type material will resist electrical current flow because electrons want to move into a n

    • Re:Negative charges (Score:5, Informative)

      by jouassou ( 1854178 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @02:14PM (#51521367) Homepage
      If you really want to be pedantic, then the negative charges aren't really electrons either. Both the positive and negative charges are quasiparticles [wikipedia.org], which are particle-like excitations of a large sea of actual electrons in the semiconductor. The collective behaviour of all these electrons then results in something that looks like a single electron with a different mass [wikipedia.org] and sometimes the wrong charge. But it's usually easier to just call these quasiparticles "electrons" and "holes", because that's what they intuitively behave like.
    • Captain pedantic here. Electron holes [wikipedia.org] are not positive charges. This "hole" can be treated for convenience and practicality like a positively charged particle but that isn't technically the same thing.

      True, but basically all semiconductor device engineers don't worry about this distinction. It's true but it doesn't matter.

      This is similar to deciding whether to talk about the air or the water in two cases: A drop of water falling down in a container otherwise filled with air, or a bubble flo

  • Let it SnO, let it SnO...
  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @01:48PM (#51521157)

    Electron transit speed is not the limiting factor in device speed. Don't know who wrote the article but there is no way your Iphone is getting a 200 GHZ cpu from this.

    • Electron transit speed is not the limiting factor in device speed.

      Electrons move thru gates faster when there is less capacitance and less heat from reduction of resistance.

      Don't know who wrote the article but there is no way your Iphone is getting a 200 GHZ cpu from this.

      Actual text from TFA:

      "Transistors made with Tiwari's semiconducting material could lead to computers and smartphones that are more than 100 times faster than regular devices."

      Article is silent on the idea of 200 GHZ processors. There are many ways to get to 100 times faster.

      • Electrons move thru gates faster when there is less capacitance and less heat from reduction of resistance.
        Article is silent on the idea of 200 GHZ processors. There are many ways to get to 100 times faster.

        If you seriously believe that charge carrier speed in the substrate is limiting factor in device speed there is not much I can do for you except recommend a book

        http://www.amazon.com/Semicond... [amazon.com]

        and maybe the following courses of study Electronic circuits I-IV or whatever they may be calling it these days.

        • If you seriously believe that charge carrier speed in the substrate is limiting factor in device speed there is not much I can do for you except recommend a book

          No of course not, my remarks refer to gate delay. When working with 2-D elements capacitance is much lower.

    • Electron transit speed is not the limiting factor in device speed.

      It's one of the limits; that speed goes along with a concept called 'mobility' which directly translates to better current-carrying capacity.

      Higher mobility for p-type devices DEFINITELY would speed CMOS.

      Since SnO is a p-type material, it could become half the circuitry of a CMOS IC, and because it is to be a layer atop (presumably silicon) other materials, it would make for lower silicon area for a given complexity. By using that third

      • It's one of the limits;

        Your reply isn't even even logically sufficient.

        Here let me give you a car analogy.

        You have a junker Saturn and put in a Ferrari's engine, then take it out onto I-95 during rush hour. The engine was never the limiting factor, the tires transmission, steering, and the highway were all the much greater limiting factors.

  • So after reading the fine article, it's apparently stuff that's only about one atom thick.
    So, pedant maybe, but for me while that's pretty damn thin, it's still three-dimensional.
    Blame the bullshit and sensationalism that seems to have to accompany even new announcement today.
    In a scientific article, can we just have the facts without the crap?
    That would be a good new direction for /. to take.

    now get off my three-dimensional lawn!

    • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @04:29PM (#51522721) Journal

      What's wrong with calling it 2D? Electron motion is effectively limited to two dimensions, and it doesn't make much sense to talk about lateral movement through the degenerate dimension. And if you hate this you'll be even more angry that scientists often refer to quantum dots as zero dimensional.

    • by whit3 ( 318913 )

      So after reading the fine article, it's apparently stuff that's only about one atom thick. So, pedant maybe, but for me while that's pretty damn thin, it's still three-dimensional.

      The band structure for a bulk material (full 3-d crystal structure) defines the behavior of electrons deep inside the material, not near a surface - and near-suface conditions are different. The permitted electron orbitals (and bonding, and atomic spacing...) in a very thin layer of SnO might be very different indeed (and have

  • No, they will not make anything "100 times faster". The limiter today is interconnect and that does not get any faster at all with this material.

    • I am not certain how to calculate the net performance benefit of the entire device, but if the core CPU/GPU on a die can perform 100x faster or more efficiently, certainly we could expect much better battery life and or other benefits that would be worthwhile. The equivalent conversation for the Overclockers out there is that more cooling allows for faster speeds... Why? Because of the resistance of the substrate and the faster the clock the more energy waste. If you have a lower resistance substrate, that
      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        The limiter is on-die interconnect. You may get individual transistors 100x faster, gates 30x faster and CPUs 1.1x faster (if that). Sorry.

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