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Stanford engineers create prototype chip just three atoms thick

For more than 50 years, silicon chipmakers have devised inventive ways to switch electricity on and off, generating the digital ones and zeroes that encode words, pictures, movies and other forms of data. But as researchers think about electronics for the next 50 years, they’ve begun to look beyond silicon to new types of materials that occur in single layers only three atoms thick – far thinner than modern silicon chips – yet are able to control electricity more efficiently to create those digital ones and zeroes. Now a team led by Stanford electrical engineering Associate Professor Eric Pop has demonstrated how it might be possible to mass-produce such atomically thin materials and electronics. Why would this be useful? Because such thin materials would be transparent and flexible as well, in ways that would enable electronic devices that wouldn’t be possible to make with silicon.”

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