"Researchers in the field of microprocessors are always
looking to the future to see what new materials are available as
our chips get ever smaller, faster, and closer to the limits of
current component manufacturing. While graphene is seen as a
material of the future, it has recently been revealed that it may
not be a suitable replacement for silicon in CPUs. This is due to
graphene having a very small energy state gap, meaning when it is
used as a transistor it cannot be turned off.
"There could be ways around such a limitation that haven't been
formulated yet, but we may not need graphene for processor
manufacture after all. EPFL's Laboratory of Nanoscale Electronics
and Structures (LANES) has discovered that molybdenite (MoS2) may
be the perfect replacement for silicon.
"Your first question, as was mine, is probably what on earth is
molybdenite? Well, it's actually an abundant material that has so
far been overlooked for use in electronics. It is commonly used as
an additive in lubricants and as an element of steel alloy, but now
it has been found to be suitable for use as a semiconductors."