Electrons in silicon dispersed to 0.3% of the speed of light

    Engineers from Pohang University of Science and Technology (South Korea) set a new record for the speed of electrons in silicon . Thanks to the coating with a graphene film, it was possible to increase the speed of particles by about 20 times compared with conventional transistors, namely up to 0.3% of the speed of light in vacuum.

    Thus, even on the existing technological base, it is possible to create processors with a frequency of 20 times higher than the current one. So-called “fast silicon” will be easier to produce in existing factories than fully graphene processors.

    The phenomenal properties of a graphene film with a thickness of 1 atom are known since its discovery in 2005. In this unique materialelectric charges behave like relativistic particles with zero effective mass, that is, theoretically they can move at the speed of light. Therefore, graphene has the best conductivity of all known materials at room temperature.

    The problem is that a graphene film is difficult to obtain because of its instability. Only recently was the first method of its manufacture on an industrial scale tested .

    In silicon, the electron velocity is strongly inhibited due to electrical resistance. To break through this barrier, South Korean experts added graphene to the silicon layer. It was assumed that this layer will affect the electron velocity in silicon itself. To test the hypothesis, electron bombardment was carried out by photons to knock out some electrons and measure their energy. The experiment showed that some electrons in silicon have a mass of 1/20 of the usual, which indicates the possibility of creating a material with a 20-fold increase in the speed of electrons.

    This is not the limit, according to South Korean experts. According to them, experimenting with different coatings, one can achieve even greater relief of electrons in silicon, because now they are three times heavier and slower than graphene.

    Research Articlepublished in the journal Physical Review Letters (DOI: 10.1103 / PhysRevLett.104.246803).

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