Until recently, silicon was the only game in town when it came to manufacturing chips. Although numerous advances had been made, further miniaturization was nearly impossible due to the limitations of this material. Chips were stuck at a thickness of 2 nanometers and with concerns over oxidation, simply couldn’t be made any smaller.
A new material called molybdenite is revolutionizing the chip industry. This naturally occurring mineral can be used to create a chip that is a mere 3 atoms thick per layer. This spells big progress for an industry that is concerned with making things smaller and smaller. With molybdenite, the possibilities appear to be nearly endless.
Molybdenite is manufactured from molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) and this material is considered to be abundant and easy to find, unlike silicon which must be manufactured and is more expensive to use. Cost savings, when coupled with the other benefits of chips made from this material, will likely have a heavy influence when it comes to adopting molybdenite on a large scale.
Molybdenite stacks up against silicon when it comes to speed as well. They can be turned off and back on in much less time and have the ability to go into stand-by mode, a feature not available with regular silicon chips. This in turn translates into a more efficient chip.
The future is bright for this new material. Thanks to its flexibility, designers are beginning to contemplate its use for new flexible electronic devices that can be worn next to the skin. The next few years will truly be the turning point for molybdenite as developers see just how far it can go, and whether or not it can leave silicon in the dust.