Scientists have discovered that nanosticks from quasi-1d materials have a high electrical Current Density. This makes the Material suitable as a successor to copper and silicon as a conductive material for interconnects.
The research comes from the American university UC Riverside, where a team of scientists has been focusing on 1d materials for longer, instead of 2D materials for electronics. 2d materials are layers of atoms and graphene is seen as an interesting candidate for electronics. With 1d material, these are chains of atoms, which makes applications on an even smaller scale than graphene possible.
The researchers worked with zirconium tritelluride, which consists of a chain of atoms in crystalline configuration. They do not have the disadvantage of a rough surface such as polycrystalline metals, so that electrons do not spread. The researchers think this is the reason for the high Electrical Current Density of the 1d material.
This current density is fifty times higher than copper and is almost at the level of carbon nanotubes and graphene. In the long term, it may be possible to grow the material as a nanowire. In the future, the electronics and semiconductor industry needs material at the nanoscale with high current density, otherwise the development towards smaller components against a barrier.
Integrated circuits require a higher current density as they become smaller: the less space there is for the electrons, the lower the currents and the slower the transistors. Applying higher electric currents to thinner copper lines can lead to overheating and thus to breaks.
Materials such as graphene and zirconium tri-telluride can thus serve as an alternative in the future.
1D ZrTe3 nanoribbons
Microscopic image of electronics, made with one-dimensional ZrTe3 nanosticks. The metal contacts are yellow and are laid over the channel, in green.
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