Is Silicene the New Graphene? (Atom-Thick Silicon)

  • #1
745
20
Researchers have developed silicene, atom-thick silicon sheets similar to graphene:

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2010/aug/25/silicene-new-form-silicon-might-speed-microcircuit/ [Broken]

http://apl.aip.org/resource/1/applab/v96/i26/p261905_s1?isAuthorized=no [Broken]


How similar could atom-thick silicon be to graphene? In what ways will it differ?
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
alxm
Science Advisor
1,842
9
Silicon sits just beneath carbon in the periodic table of elements and has many of the same chemical properties.
I hate when people say that, it's grade-school chemistry - too oversimplified. Silicon has somewhat similar properties. One very important difference, not least in this context, is that silicon does not form very stable bonds with itself. Alkanes are all stable, silanes become notoriously unstable after only a few atoms in length. Note that crystalline silicon is sp4-hybridized, i.e. the same structure as diamond, whereas no stable sp3/graphite analogue exists at all. Nor do I expect that we'll be seeing silicene nanotubes or buckyballs.

On the other hand, it doesn't mean you can't have a stable silicene monolayer if it's situated on some kind of substrate, as in this case. I haven't read up on the subject, but my hunch (per the above) tells me that it's not going to be as stable as graphene. The size is probably more limited, as well as the number of substrates on which you can successfully create it. So it's not likely as versatile as graphene. That said, it probably does have a number of interesting and unique properties the same way graphene does, and I can see it having at least some of the applications that graphene has, in solid state and such. But that's better addressed by a solid state person.
 

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