Info
Info
News Article

Researchers Make First 2D Microprocessor

Processor chip made of 115 MoS2 transistors is first step toward ultra-thin, flexible logic devices

Researchers from the Graphene Flagship, working at the TU Vienna in Austria, have designed and fabricated the first microprocessors based on graphene and related 2D materials such as transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs).

Using transistors made from the TMD MoS2, the microprocessors are capable of 1-bit logic operations and the design is scalable to multi-bit operations. With the drive towards smart objects and the Internet of Things, the microprocessors hold promise for integrating computational power into everyday objects and surfaces.

"In general, being a flexible material there are new opportunities for novel applications. One could combine these processor circuits with light emitters that could also be made with MoS2 to make flexible displays and e-paper, or integrate them for logic circuits in smart sensors," said Thomas Mueller, who led the work at TU Vienna.

The thinness of the MoS2 means that the transistors are highly responsive. "In principle, it's an advantage to have a thin material for a transistor. The thinner the material, the better the electrostatic control of the transistor channel, and the smaller the power consumption," said Mueller. The advantage of thin microprocessors means that low-powered computers could be integrated into everyday objects without adding bulk.

Complex Circuitry

The MoS2 microprocessor is the most advanced circuitry made in this way. The devices were tested using simple programs, delivering the correct results with excellent signal quality and low power consumption.

Compared to modern processors, which can have billions of transistors in a single chip, the 115-transistor devices are very simple. However, it is a very early stage for a new technology, and the team have concrete plans for the next steps: "Our goal is to realise significantly larger circuits that can do much more in terms of useful operations. We want to make a full 8-bit design - or even more bits - on a single chip with smaller feature sizes," said Mueller. 

This goal presents a challenge in terms of design and fabrication: "Adding additional bits of course makes everything much more complicated. For example, adding just one bit will roughly double the complexity of the circuit," said Stefan Wachter, a researcher at TU Vienna and first author of the work.

Improving the multi-stage design process will be an important step in developing high-yield production methods for the MoS2 microprocessors, since - among other factors - the transfer of large area, bi-layer MoS2 onto wafers was a significant source of device failure. Dmitry Polyushkin of TU Vienna outlines the next steps: "Our approach is to improve the processing to a point where we can reliably make chips with a few tens of thousands of transistors. For example, growing directly onto the chip would avoid the transfer process, which would give higher yield so that we can go to more complex circuits."

Technology Horizons

"This simple circuit is a first conceptual step towards the implementation of simple logic in flexible devices for everyday use, such as food packaging or textiles," said Andrea Ferrari from the University of Cambridge, UK, the Science and Technology Officer of the Graphene Flagship, and Chair of its Management Panel. "The goal is not to compete head on with the established silicon technology, but to fill those complementary gaps not yet enabled by it."



AngelTech Live III: Join us on 12 April 2021!

AngelTech Live III will be broadcast on 12 April 2021, 10am BST, rebroadcast on 14 April (10am CTT) and 16 April (10am PST) and will feature online versions of the market-leading physical events: CS International and PIC International PLUS a brand new Silicon Semiconductor International Track!

Thanks to the great diversity of the semiconductor industry, we are always chasing new markets and developing a range of exciting technologies.

2021 is no different. Over the last few months interest in deep-UV LEDs has rocketed, due to its capability to disinfect and sanitise areas and combat Covid-19. We shall consider a roadmap for this device, along with technologies for boosting its output.

We shall also look at microLEDs, a display with many wonderful attributes, identifying processes for handling the mass transfer of tiny emitters that hold the key to commercialisation of this technology.

We shall also discuss electrification of transportation, underpinned by wide bandgap power electronics and supported by blue lasers that are ideal for processing copper.

Additional areas we will cover include the development of GaN ICs, to improve the reach of power electronics; the great strides that have been made with gallium oxide; and a look at new materials, such as cubic GaN and AlScN.

Having attracted 1500 delegates over the last 2 online summits, the 3rd event promises to be even bigger and better – with 3 interactive sessions over 1 day and will once again prove to be a key event across the semiconductor and photonic integrated circuits calendar.

So make sure you sign up today and discover the latest cutting edge developments across the compound semiconductor and integrated photonics value chain.

REGISTER FOR FREE

VIEW SESSIONS

Info
×
Search the news archive

To close this popup you can press escape or click the close icon.
×
Logo
×
Register - Step 1

You may choose to subscribe to the Compound Semiconductor Magazine, the Compound Semiconductor Newsletter, or both. You may also request additional information if required, before submitting your application.


Please subscribe me to:

 

You chose the industry type of "Other"

Please enter the industry that you work in:
Please enter the industry that you work in:
 
X
Info
X
Info
{taasPodcastNotification}
Live Event