Cubic boron arsenide is a semiconductor with ultra-high thermal conductivity comparable to diamond. It has received extensive attention since 2018 and is known as possibly the best semiconductor material, but it has been uncertain whether it will be commercialized. Until recently, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have made important scientific progress for the first time. In their experiments, they found that cubic boron arsenide crystals provide high carrier mobility for electrons and holes, expanding the potential use of this material in commercial fields, such as improving CPU. speed.
Materials such as silicon and gallium arsenide have good electron mobility, but poor hole mobility. In addition, the thermal conductivity of silicon is not good, and “heat generation” is the main bottleneck of many electronic products. Therefore, silicon carbide is gradually replacing silicon. (Electric vehicles including Tesla), although silicon carbide has lower electron mobility, it has 3 times the thermal conductivity of silicon.
Imagine, then, that boron arsenide, a material with thermal conductivity and electron mobility 10 times higher than silicon, could one day be a game-changer for semiconductors.
The researchers say a material called cubic boron arsenide can overcome two significant limitations of low hole mobility and low thermal conductivity. In addition to high electron mobility and hole mobility, cubic boron arsenide also has excellent thermal conductivity. It is the best semiconductor material discovered so far, and it may be the best one.
But more work is needed to determine whether cubic boron arsenide can be manufactured in a practical, economical form, and before we can talk further about replacing the ubiquitous silicon, until recently, an MIT team experimentally demonstrated the cubic boron arsenide material for the first time. High carrier mobility at room temperature.
Although scientists have proved that cubic boron arsenide has excellent thermal and electrical properties, it seems to be almost an ideal semiconductor material, but whether it can really enter the market and device applications is still open to question, because other properties of cubic boron arsenide materials still need to be tested , such as long-term stability, and the greatest challenge: large-scale commercial production of purified cubic boron arsenide. It took decades for silicon to reach today’s technology that produces more than 99.99999999% purity, and it remains to be seen whether it will be possible to invest heavily in research and development of new materials in the future.
The new paper is published in the journal Science.
(Source of the first image: MIT)
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