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Stanene may be better than Graphene

December 06, 2013 // By R. Colin Johnson

Stanene may be better than Graphene

A team of researchers led by Stanford University professor Shoucheng Zhang now have high hopes that a new material they call stanene will conduct electricity on next-generation microchips with "100 percent efficiency" at room temperature and above.


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The team, including researchers at Stanford University and the US Department of Energys (DoE's) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, both in Menlo Park, Calif., named their new tin-based material stanene to liken it to graphene (plus the prefix of the Latin term for tin, stannum). However, instead of being based on atomically thin two-dimensional (2D) monolayers of carbon as is graphene, stanene is based on monolayers of tin. And while they are careful not to call it a room-temperature superconductor, it nevertheless has striking similarities.

Adding fluorine atoms (yellow) to a 2-D monolayer of tin atoms (grey) should allow a predicted new material, stanene, to offer zero resistance along its edges (blue and red arrows) at temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius (212 Fahrenheit). (Yong Xu/Tsinghua University; Greg Stewart/SLAC) (Source: SLAC)
Adding fluorine atoms (yellow) to a 2-D monolayer of tin atoms (grey) should allow a predicted new material, stanene, to offer zero resistance along its edges (blue and red arrows) at temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius (212 Fahrenheit). (Yong Xu/Tsinghua University; Greg Stewart/SLAC) (Source: SLAC)
"This is not a superconductor, with the following distinction -- it only conducts with 100 percent efficiency on the edges -- the interior of this two-dimensional material is an insulator," Zhang told us.

In practice, stanene interconnection lines will behave like dual side-by-side superconducting wires, since each ribbon of stanene will support two lanes of zero resistance data traffic -- one on each edge. The only resistance offered by a stanene interconnection line would be at the end points where a contact must be made with the traditional on-chip circuitry.

"The key difference is that with a normal conductor, the total resistance scales linearly with the length -- the longer the wire the larger the resistance," said Zhang. "But for stanene the only resistance is the contact, so the total resistance of a line is constant regardless of the wire's length."

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