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Black phosphorus to replace silicon and cool electronics

6/15/2016, Milan Šurkala
Black phosphorus has some interesting metal properties and it seems that it could replace silicon in electronics. Moreover, phosphorus nanoribbons using the special structure can improve heat dissipation and keep electronics cooler.
Silicon is extremely important for current electronic devices but it has its own limits. The future needs something new to increase the power of chips with reasonable energy consumption levels. It seems that black phosphorus can be the way how to solve that problem. It is a layered semiconductor that conducts electricity and heat. The scientists at the University of California, Berkeley discovered very interesting properties of the black phosphorus.
Black Phosphorus
They figured out that the conductivity of the black phosphorus nanoribbons depends on the structure and the direction properties. If these ribbons are in the zig-zag direction, they can conduct heat twice as much as any other direction. Using this structure, the thermal efficiency of chips can be improved and they can be cooler because of better heat spreading.
There is also a possibility to combine various crystallographic orientations of black phosphorus in the same chip to emphasize better thermal or electrical conductivity according to the local needs and to better control heat flow inside transistors. The thickness of the nanoribbons also changes the thermal conductivity. According to these observations, the future chips would maybe switch to black phosphorus as the basic semiconductor material.