The Golden Path Toward New Two-Dimensional Semiconductors
Two-dimensional (2D) semiconductors are promising for quantum computing and future electronics. Now, researchers can convert metallic gold into a semiconductor and customize the material atom-by-atom on boron nitride nanotubes.
Gold is a conductive material already widely used as interconnects in electronic devices. As electronics have gotten smaller and more powerful, the semiconducting materials involved have also shrunk. However, computers have gotten about as small as they can with existing designs — to break the barrier, researchers dive into the physics underlying quantum computing and the unusual behaviors of gold in quantum mechanics.
Researchers can convert gold into semiconducting quantum dots made of a single layer of atoms. Their energy gap, or bandgap, is formed by the quantum confinement — a quantum effect when materials behave like atoms as their sizes get so small approaching the molecular scale. These 2D gold quantum dots can be used for electronics with a bandgap that is tunable atom-by-atom.
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