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What Materials Will Replace Silicon in Future Tech?

Innovation and our changing society means that the future of technology needs to keep up. Silicon has been the wonder material for the past 70 years. When formulated just right, it can be shaped into a transistor and act as both a conductor and an insulator. Without this fundamental property the entire digital revolution, everything from TikTok to COVID-19 vaccines, wouldn’t be possible. But the tech industry is on the lookout for other materials to take silicon’s place.

What’s Next for nearly 2-D Materials?
What’s the main criteria for creating a nearly 2-D material like silicon? These new exotic materials will have to be only 1-2 nanometers thick. They are flat sheets with only a few atoms of depth and include substances like graphene, black phosphorus, transition metal dichalcogenides, and boron nitride nanosheets. Since they’re only 1-2 nanometers thick, these materials can either be grown atop silicon microchips or they can be grown separately and carefully placed.

But what can these microscopic materials accomplish? These materials will include novel features such as infrared night-vision mode in smartphones or microchips that are 10 times faster and more power-efficient. This technological advancement could enable new forms of human-computer interaction, such as augmented-reality systems that fit into everyday life.

Graphene
The most common 2-D material replacing silicon is graphene. Graphene is an allotrope of carbon consisting of a single layer of atoms arranged in a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice. It’s strong and conducts heat effectively, so it has already established itself as useful when keeping smartphones and their batteries cool, and also keeping wearable activewear technology working.

Molybdenum Disulfide
Another viable silicon substitute is molybdenum disulfide. Molybdenum disulfide is an inorganic compound composed of molybdenum and sulfur. It has already been used to create flexible electronics and a simple microprocessor. This material is also part of a large family of hundreds of promising materials for silicon replacement. One challenge, however, is that making and handling it can be difficult, but this is true of many of these similar substances.

From shrinking electronics and cracking codes to cloud computing and artificial intelligence, the demands on our hardware are growing faster than current tech can keep up. This means future jobs will involve different solutions for changing technology and, in some cases, higher educational requirements. That’s why staying up-to-date with the latest training and certifications is important to help you further your career and protect your employees. EPTACoffers a variety of online and in-person solder training courses and IPC certifications.

About EPTAC
For over 30 years, EPTAC has been a leading provider of solder training and IPC certification. We provide professionals with the tools and training they need to advance their careers and improve their businesses. With 19 locations across North America, our solutions and instructional staff provide easy access to knowledge that will enhance your business model and help you meet and exceed industry demands. For more information call 800.643.7822 or contact us.