The Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT, Minister: Lee Jong-Ho) announced that the research team* led by Professor Hyeon Suk Shin at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has successfully developed the technologies that can demonstrate single-crystal multi-layered hexagonal Boron Nitride (hBN)** for the world’s first time.
* (Co-corresponding authors) Hyeon Suk Shin (UNIST), Feng Ding (UNIST), Rodney Ruoff (UNIST), Manish Chhowalla (University of Cambridge, UK) (Co-first author) Kyung Yeol Ma (UNIST), Leining Zhang (UNIST)
** hBN : hexagonal Boron Nitride
On June 2, the results from this research, which was conducted thanks to the support from the Future Technology Research Lab, Leadership Research, and Basic Research Lab Project of the Ministry of Science and ICT, were published in Nature, an international academic journal.
hBN is known as the only two-dimensional (2D) insulating material, that can prevent degradation of functions such as charge trap and charge scattering, which may occur from next-generation, highly integrated semiconductors.
Next-generation, highly integrated semiconductors deploy technologies, which can solve issues including leakage current and heat generation, by converting silicon into molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), which is 2D semiconductor, and increase the level of integration in chips.
However, this highly integrated semiconductor requires an insulator that physically separates wafer from MoS2, because a charge trap occurs when MoS2 is in direct contact with the wafer.
In addition, as to prevent charge scattering, the insulating material should be the same 2D material as MoS2. Since 2D materials are connected to each other in 2D flat surface, charge scattering, which may be a problem in three-dimensional structure like silicon, does not occur here.
Until now, the development of a technology that can synthesize 2D insulating material in a single cystal form that has appropriate thickness, enough to be used in semiconductor devices, has been a challenge. The research team was able to synthesize hBN single crystal that can be adjusted in thickness, through a new synthesis method, capable of adjusting the level of concentration of materials required for synthesis.
Although cases of synthesizing hBN large enough for commercial launch have been published in Nature and Science so far, this is the first time in the world that a single crystal has been synthesized in the form of multi-layered thin film.
Professor Hyeon Suk Shin talked about the significance of this research by saying that, "Thanks to this study, we could develop technologies for synthesizing materials, that can solve physical limits of traditional highly integrated semiconductors, which are represented by the Moore's Law."
Professor Shin went on to say that "As it is frequently reported that hBN can be used in not only semiconductors but also hydrogen fuel cell electrolyte membranes, next-generation secondary battery electrode materials, and quantum light sources, additional research should be carried out actively to secure fundamental technologies for material production."
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