Scientists sought to prove a theory, and the result is a 2D materials-based multi-stacked structure with the potential to develop low-power electronics.
Energy consumption is an often discussed topic in technology. Technological processes enable us to move away from paper and other finite resources, but it comes at a cost. We reduce our impact on the environment by not cutting down trees, but we increase it in energy consumption. Over the last several years, humans have made efforts to reduce our technological energy consumption, and the next innovation will pave the way for low-energy electronics. Scientists have designed a 2D materials-based multi-stacked structure which has the potential to reduce energy consumption.
Scientists have widely used 2D materials because of their electronic properties. The biggest draw is their ability to be stacked and integrated with each other. According to SciTech Daily, “In theory, this stability of 2D materials enables the fabrication of 2D materials-based structures like coupled “quantum wells” (CQWs), a system of interacting potential “wells,” or regions holding very little energy, which allow only specific energies for the particles trapped within them.
CQWs can be used to design resonant tunneling diodes, electronic devices that exhibit a negative rate of change of voltage with current and are crucial components of integrated circuits. Such chips and circuits are integral in technologies that emulate neurons and synapses responsible for memory storage in the biological brain.”
A research team set out to prove that 2D materials can be used to create CQWs. Dr. Myoung-Jae Lee of Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology led the research team that designed the system to be tested. The CQW system stacks one tungsten disulfide (WS2) layer between two hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) layers. “hBN is a nearly ideal 2D insulator with high chemical stability. This makes it a perfect choice for integration with WS2, which is known to be a semiconductor in 2D form,” explains Dr. Lee.
The full details of the study can be found on the ACS Nano publication journal. The scientists observed a decrease in the energy they measured and tested. We’ll leave the technical details of the study to the experts in this field, though, and jump to the implications of this development.
Dr. Lee says that the biggest implication of this technology is that it can lead to the development of low-power electronics. More and more people around the world are looking to be more eco-friendly. Businesses strive to become carbon-neutral. Technology is consuming energy every day, and while current measures are keeping pace, we need innovations like this 2D materials-based stacked structure to further our progress and keep us ahead.
Think about the impact that low-power semiconductor chips and circuits can have on our electronics. Almost every product on the market, from baby toys to smart home devices, has circuits and chips that run it. While the low-power may not be significant or needed for some products, electronics which require charging or being plugged in for use will benefit from the use of these items. Battery life on anything with a low-power chip will be extended by default. There’s no way to not extend that life when the power needed to run an item goes down. Which also means that newer products will require fewer batteries in some cases.
On top of that, these chips and circuits can be used in applications which mimic neurons and synapses. Machines have those, especially artificial intelligence systems which are designed to function like the human brain. Which means there is likely to be an application for them in the AI field as well.
When science and technology come together to solve a problem, there are no boundaries beyond physical limitations. There are likely to be even more applications of this technology, things no one has thought of yet. And its development comes at a perfect time to continue to innovate uses and further our goals to reduce technological energy consumption. 2D materials may be the next big thing in many areas, not just energy or AI. At this rate, it won’t be long before we’ve figured out how to make all forms of technology clean.