Revolutionize Computing: Superatomic Material Unlocks 1000x Faster Chips!

A “superatomic” material has become the fastest semiconductor known and this could lead to computer chips that are hundreds or thousands of times faster than anything available today.

Silicon semiconductors used in transistors in computer chips depend on the flow of electrons to transmit data, but these particles scatter wildly, wasting energy in heat and slowing down the time it takes for data to reach A to B.

Now, Milan Delor of Columbia University in New York and his colleagues have discovered a faster and more efficient semiconductor in a material with the chemical formula Re6Se8Cl2. It is composed of renium, selenium, and chlorine, but is a superatomic material, with atoms forming clusters yet acting like basic elements in some ways.

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Particles called axitons actually move through this material through silicon more slowly than electrons, but, importantly, they move in arrow-straight lines, so they cover the same distance far more quickly.

If a transistor that uses exitons instead of electrons could be made with this new material, they would make it from one side of the transistor to the other without scattering, which would allow them to travel about 100 to 1000 times from A to B. Faster than the electrons in the silicon chip.
“If you think of a Gigahertz processor, currently, in theory, you can go up to hundreds of gigahertz or maybe a terahertz [with new material] in terms of the switching speed of your transistor,” Delor says. “Theoretically, we have anticipated that there will be a huge increase in performance. “

Delor says a working computer chip using this material is several decades away. Engineers have decades to perfect silicon chip manufacturing techniques and switching to a new material will essentially send them back to the same state. Renium is also one of the rarest elements in the Earth’s crust – while silicon is the second most abundant element – so chips made using Re6Se8Cl2 will likely be put to specific applications such as spacecraft and quantum computers.

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