Since its discovery in 2004, graphene -- sheets of carbon an atom
thick -- has sparked a flurry of research into the nanomaterial's
potential applications for blazing fast, tiny electronics. Now, several
research groups claim to have created analogous thin sheets of silicon
called silicene, igniting a controversy over who won the race to
synthesize this promising new material.
Smaller means faster in electronics. Conventional electronic devices based on silicon are being miniaturized, but they start to malfunction as they approach the limits of the single atom scale. Consequently, manufacturers need to find new solutions for faster electronics in the coming years. Because silicene and graphene are essentially two-dimensional they can work at the single atom level.
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