Ultimate Transfer Method to Enable Use of Silicene

Physical Sciences : Materials and Compounds

Available for licensing

Inventors

  • Deji Akinwande, Ph.D. , Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Li Tao, Ph.D. , Microelectronics Research Center

Background/unmet need

The synthesis of a novel two-dimensional material made of silicon atoms in crystalline lattice structure, silicene, has generated a great deal of interest as a potential breakthrough component of advanced electronics. One challenge with this material, its instability in air, must be addressed in order to continue the developmental work expected to lead to novel devices.

Currently, there is no practical technique to enable electronics based on air-sensitive 2D materials like silicene. The material can be synthesized and studied, but cannot be transferred from its manufacturing substrate to other materials from which devices could be made.

Invention Description

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a process that employees encapsulation, top and bottom layers, to protect air-sensitive 2D materials for transfer, handling, and device fabrication. It preserves the pristine material properties and simplifies the device fabrication process, thereby enabling the realization of working electronics. 

Benefits/Advantages

  • Effectively encapsulates air-sensitive 2D material
  • Minimizes added material cost
  • Minimizes additional processing cost

Features

    Process creates a "sandwich" of the air-sensitive silicene between sacrificial protective layers 

Market potential/applications

Traditional silicon semiconductor manufacturers and vendors in plastic/flexible electronic circuits are the most likely users of this technology. The familiarity of this industry with silicon and its properties lends itself to the rapid incorporation of silicene into device designs once the material is capable of being manufactured in production quantities and at high quality.

The graphene market makes a good proxy for an as-yet undeveloped silicene market. According to Wikipedia, the graphene market is currently $9M, with growth expected to continue at double-digit rates as new applications are developed.

Development Stage

Proof of concept

IP Status

  • 2 U.S. patents application filed