Stanene, a theorized material fabricated from a single layer of tin atoms, is being touted as a potential future replacement for copper wiring in chips by a team of theoretical physicists from the U.S. Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University. Combining stanene, which is still theoretical and has not yet been fabricated, with fluorine atoms reportedly enables 100 percent electrical efficiency at temperatures up to 212° Fahrenheit. Using the combination to replace copper wires should significantly reduce the power consumption and heat production of microprocessors, the researchers say.
"Stanene could increase the speed and lower the power needs of future generations of computer chips, if our prediction is confirmed by experiments that are underway in several laboratories around the world," said Shoucheng Zhang, a physics professor at Stanford and the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences (SIMES), a joint institute with SLAC. "Eventually, we can imagine stanene being used for many more circuit structures, including replacing silicon in the hearts of transistors," Zhang said. For more on stanene, see this release.