Deep Jariwala, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering, is an expert in two-dimensional materials and new technologies they can enable.
Under carefully controlled conditions, a variety of materials can be crafted in atomically thin layers, unlocking properties that are only possible when a substance is all surface. Once fabricated, Jariwala and his colleagues can integrate them with electronics, use them for thin and efficient photovoltaic panels, or spatially arrange them in configurations that manipulate color.
As researchers expand the library of two-dimensional materials, the one at the heart of the field is beginning to make its way out of the lab. Graphene, a two-dimensional lattice of carbon atoms, is eyed as a potential successor to silicon when it comes to the computer industry. Jariwala recently spoke with Christopher Mims of the Wall Street Journal for his article, “Graphene and Beyond: The Wonder Materials That Could Replace Silicon in Future Tech.”
Because 2-D materials are just an atom or two thick, they can be either grown atop silicon microchips, or they can be grown separately, and then carefully placed. This has two advantages over just stacking layers of silicon, says Deep Jariwala, an engineering professor at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in nanotechnology. The first is that many can be stacked without adding appreciable height to a chip. The second is that some 2-D materials, especially graphene, dissipate heat so well, engineers could use them to create chip high-rises that run even faster than conventional microchips, without burning themselves out.
Continue reading at the Wall Street Journal.