Researchers have built a microchip that is just three atoms thick using a graphite-like compound that could succeed silicon in future microprocessors.
- Why this matters: Silicon-based chips revolutionized computing, but scientists are racing to find new materials that allow data to move faster and more efficiently than silicon in order to meet today's — and tomorrow's — massive data processing needs. The new chip could be used for wearable technology and the Internet of Things, both of which require thin, lightweight and flexible devices.
- What's next: The molybdenum disulfide-based processor used 115 transistors to execute programs and communicated with devices attached to it, which are prerequisites for something to scale into a consumer device outside a laboratory setting. The researchers are now working on larger circuits in hopes of getting to the hundreds of millions of transistors needed for practical applications.
- Sound smart: It's mah-lib-dee-num.