Microprocessors have changed our world since their debut in the 1970s. They have usually been crafted with silicon, but the increasing demands of the market have led to a shift in materials being used. The future could lead to Germanium and III-V compound semiconductors being used, but a 1-bit microprocessors has been developed using a 2D semiconductor.

It’s made of molybedenum disulfide and the device can actually execute user-defined programs. The 1-bit design is made to be scalable to multi-bit data and it consists of 115 transistors – creating the most complex circuitry that has been made from a two-dimensional material so far.

Materials such as TMDs, black phosphorus, and silicene are looked at as promising materials for the future of circuitry. Silicon is used in this microprocessor and isn’t expected to be replaced in the near-future. However, 2D materials could lead to new applications for their use – and things like decreasing power consumption are one benefit of using 2D materials. 2D semiconductors are possible candidates to lead to more energy-efficient and flexible consumer electronics. This is exciting news, even if its consumer-level applications are going to be years away.

One shouldn’t expect anything outside of the lab on this for a while, with consumer-grade execution being quite a bit longer. Seeing electronics as a whole move forward in new and exciting ways shows that everything can in fact get smaller and yet also more flexible and versatile. Having programs run off of this already is impressive, and while you’re not going to be running any photo or video editing software with it in the near future, we could one day. It would be great to go into a store and be able to get a computer that took up 10% of the space of current desktops, but without a huge loss in power and performance.

We’re probably at least a decade away from even micro-PCs being at the level of a modern desktop, but advances like this show promise and are big steps in the right direction.

Source: Nature