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Scientists Build Three Atom Thick LEDs

Unknown Lamer posted about 6 months ago | from the smaller-better-faster dept.

Shark 54

minty3 tipped us to news that UW researchers have built the thinnest LEDs yet: a mere three atoms thick. Quoting El Reg: "Team leader Xiaodong Xu, a UW assistant professor in physics and materials science and engineering, and his graduate student Ross, have published the technique in the latest issue of Nature Nanotechnology. They report that the LEDs are small and powerful enough to be used in optical chips that use light instead of electricity to shuttle signals and data through a processor, or they could be stacked to make new thin and flexible displays."

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Seriously .. fuck beta (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46452283)

I mean who the hell cares about this shit? Atoms? LEDs? #fuckbeta #soylentnewsFTW

Re:Seriously .. fuck beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46452727)

Just put ?nobeta=1 to the end of the URL.

I'll believe it... (5, Funny)

Rick in China (2934527) | about 6 months ago | (#46452315)

When I see it!

Re:I'll believe it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46452633)

I'll believe it when it succumbs to Internet Rule 34.

Only three atoms thick! (4, Funny)

hey! (33014) | about 6 months ago | (#46452325)

Unfortunately, that means they have to be several kilometers in width...

Re:Only three atoms thick! (2)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about 6 months ago | (#46452401)

New use for the term "chip real estate".
Think of the foreclosures!

Re:Only three atoms thick! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46452477)

Yes, but it's "waffer-thin" !

Ross (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46452353)

Did all the work, gets zero return.

Insulation... (4, Insightful)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 6 months ago | (#46452373)

And how many atoms thick does the insulating layer between adjacent photosensitive or photoemitting structures need to be to prevent light emitted by one pair's LED from unduly influencing the state of an adjacent photodiode/phototransistor?

What, exactly, is the benefit of building a chip whose internal connections are basically all optoisolators?

Re:Insulation... (0, Flamebait)

artor3 (1344997) | about 6 months ago | (#46452631)

Phew, it's a good thing we have a random dude on the internet to tell us how worthless this is. Just think of how many hours could have been wasted by PhD-holding engineers and physicists if we didn't have Miamicanes to set them straight!

Re:Insulation... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46452701)

He is just making a couple of questions. I don't see him shitting on other people's work(whether this was his intention or not, IDK). Your too fast in to jump in conclusions. If I had an account and mod points you'd definitely get a "flamebait" -1 mod.

Re:Insulation... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46452839)

Ah, Just Asking Questions. I love it when people just come in and start JAQing off in less time that it would have taken them to try to answer their own questions.

Re:Insulation... (1, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | about 6 months ago | (#46452867)

No, he's not asking questions, he's making insinuations. Like clockwork, in every single discussion on some new technology, there will always be at least one jackass trying to seem smart by suggesting that those idiot scientists missed something important. Every. Single. Time.

Functional sub-nanometer LED? Pfft. No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

Re:Insulation... (1)

MaXiMiUS (923393) | about 6 months ago | (#46453081)

Pfft. No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

I think transmitting information via light actually counts as wireless, at least with sufficient power and no line of sight issues. Definitely less space than a nomad though. :P

Re:Insulation... (4, Insightful)

fisted (2295862) | about 6 months ago | (#46453341)

What the hell, dude, his question is very justified if you even just briefly think about it.

Re:Insulation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46455173)

If you think about it more than briefly or have noticed any of the large amount of research previously in the news related to light on a chip, you might even find the answers. Enough of the other articles do have repeated boiler plate motivation description to answer the original post's second question. It would be unfortunate if this was a person's first exposure to the idea of on chip light communication, but someone with an ID a third of yours should have at least noticed how often it comes up...

As far as the question about how much structure is needed to contain the light, plenty of research into on chip waveguides has been done, and a simple search shows results down to similar atomic scales as this source, or smaller using graphene.

aaaaaaaand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46455895)

That's why AC doesn't get mod points.

Re:Insulation... (2)

Mashiki (184564) | about 6 months ago | (#46452733)

What, exactly, is the benefit of building a chip whose internal connections are basically all optoisolators?

Besides omnidirectional communication without the need for direct pathways. Oh...not much.

Re:Insulation... (3, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | about 6 months ago | (#46454667)

We've had that for years already, and no, its not all that useful in computer chips. You need very specific directed communications almost exclusively except for the clock pulse.

Re:Insulation... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 5 months ago | (#46459617)

We've had that for years already, and no, its not all that useful in computer chips. You need very specific directed communications almost exclusively except for the clock pulse.

Sure, it's not useful in modern chips however. Following the theories on optical chips however, you don't need it to be directed when banks are set projected.

Re:Insulation... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46453137)

What, exactly, is the benefit of building a chip whose internal connections are basically all optoisolators?

Light travels faster than electricity, and with less interference. Since a critical limitation of modern chips is that it takes more than 1 clock tick for data to travel from one side of the chip to the other, this is of mindblowing importance.

And how many atoms thick does the insulating layer between adjacent photosensitive or photoemitting structures need to be to prevent light emitted by one pair's LED from unduly influencing the state of an adjacent photodiode/phototransistor?

It has to be at least N atoms thick, where N >= 1.

Re:Insulation... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46453509)

Modern CPUs are starting to face a bandwidth and power limitation for their interconnects. One solution that is being investigated is using photonics, because light can carry much more data (several THz of bandwidth) vs electrical interconnects (10s of GHz). An on-chip light source would be an important component for this.

Re:Insulation... (3, Insightful)

thevirtualcat (1071504) | about 6 months ago | (#46454383)

As other people have said, the advantage is speed.

Of course nobody is expecting this tech to replace silicon based chips anytime soon. There's obviously a lot of R&D to be done and, let's face it, nothing may EVER come of it. That's just how science is. We don't know in advance what theories and tech will pan out.

As for leakage between structures? I'm willing to bet we don't need perfect isolation. Just enough isolation that the interference is predictable. (Much like electrons in silicon...)

Didn't Stop At One? (5, Funny)

CrankyFool (680025) | about 6 months ago | (#46452377)

I'm impressed that they didn't just build one one atom thick LED, but three of them. Was it to prove they could reproduce it?

Re:Didn't Stop At One? (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about 6 months ago | (#46452739)

They wanted a cool RGB disco light.

three-atom thick != three atom-thick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46453055)

and a hungry panda assassin eats, shoots, and leaves

the most dangerous LED displays... evar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46452395)

I think the iPhone 6 or 7 is going to be the thinest iPhone yet... and at 3 atoms thick, sharper than the sharpest knife. Careful pulling that out of your pocket, you might loose all your fingers if you're holding it wrong. :P

Re: the most dangerous LED displays... evar (2)

Adriax (746043) | about 6 months ago | (#46455203)

Always wear your iGlove protective gear when taking your iPhone 7n out of your iPants pocket.
If an accident does occur you can treat small injuries with your iMedkit. More severe injuries you are contractually bound to seek service at your local iCare medical facility. There you can be assured prompt professional service from a certified Apple iDoc.

In this case, UW == Univ. of Washington (4, Informative)

enos (627034) | about 6 months ago | (#46452511)

To be clear, only two authors are from the University of Washington. They have many collaborators, including from Univ. of Tennessee, Oak Ridge NL, Germany, Japan, and Hong Kong.

Submitter: University of Wisconsin and University of Waterloo are also known as "UW". It's worth expanding on first use.

UW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46452755)

Submitter: University of Wisconsin and University of Waterloo are also known as "UW". It's worth expanding on first use.

Not to mention U of WTF

Re:In this case, UW == Univ. of Washington (3, Insightful)

Alomex (148003) | about 6 months ago | (#46452869)

Not to mention University of Warwick, University of Wales, University of Worcested and University of Warsaw all of which use UW to various degrees.

Re:In this case, UW == Univ. of Washington (5, Funny)

GTRacer (234395) | about 6 months ago | (#46453551)

Wouldn't be very good universities if they didn't have various degrees...

Re:In this case, UW == Univ. of Washington (0)

Nimey (114278) | about 6 months ago | (#46454085)

If only Slashdot had editors.

Re:In this case, UW == Univ. of Washington (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46454791)

Also University of Wyoming.

I know that particular UW will never be mentioned in an article like this, but I have to stand up for my home state whenever possible.

BigerMall (-1, Troll)

bigermall (3571889) | about 6 months ago | (#46452527)

BigerMall.com [bigermall.com]

p-n junction? (1)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 6 months ago | (#46452625)

So the electrons from how many atoms cross the junction?

Wrong Journal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46452665)

It was published in Nature Nanotechnology.

Isn't it really Angstromtechnology?

Besides, I though that nanotechnology applied to complicated 3D structures of nanotubes and such. If it's flat and produced by epitaxial growth, is it really sexy enough to be called Nanotechnology?

Re:Wrong Journal (0)

someone1234 (830754) | about 6 months ago | (#46452677)

If it isn't sexy enough, Imagine a beowulf cluster of these.

Scientists Build Three Atom Thick LEDs (2)

Kefeus (722757) | about 6 months ago | (#46452729)

"Scientists Build Three Atom Thick LEDs"
Why didn't they just build one ?

Really (1)

eclectro (227083) | about 6 months ago | (#46452775)

Does anyone else remember when IBM would be the one to do something like this?

Re:Really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46452823)

You mean like this?
http://nanotechweb.org/cws/article/tech/40970

Don't believe nanotech press reports. Nanotech professors post "First" online more often than Slashdot trolls. Ignore shit like this article.

Re:Really (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 6 months ago | (#46454685)

They still do, but just not this one.

Things Are? (1)

Quandell (3511345) | about 6 months ago | (#46452995)

Things are getting thinner and thinner. Technology It is! and This can be a lot more spacious.

Not the only group to have achieved this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46453113)

There are two other publications in the same issue of Nature Nanotech., both of which also report the creation of similar systems also utilizing monolayers of WSe2: this one [doi.org] from a group at the Vienna University of Technology and this one [doi.org] from a group at MIT.

Moore's Law(s) (1)

qpqp (1969898) | about 6 months ago | (#46453415)

So, are we back in the game?

We can observe clear evidence that Moore’s Law is ending, because we can point to a pattern that precedes the end of exploiting any kind of resource. But there’s no reason to panic, because Moore’s Law limits only one kind of scaling, and we have already started another kind.

Re:Moore's Law(s) (2)

Megol (3135005) | about 6 months ago | (#46453473)

Nope. Moore's law is an observation of transistor growth. Doing optical communications have nothing to do with it at least to a first approximation.

That said optical communication does open up a lot of advantages including (potentially) reduced signal latency, denser and thus higher bandwidth chip I/O and other effects that will (if practically usable) increase performance of computers. But transistor scaling? It's dead.

Re:Moore's Law(s) (1)

qpqp (1969898) | about 6 months ago | (#46453999)

So would it be more correct to say that we're back in the exponential game on single chips (using Moore's law only by inference), as opposed to horizontal scaling by adding cores?

Not so sure I trust... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46454103)

...an article with little enough grasp on basic scientific principles to include this gem: "The new LEDs measure just three atoms tall, technically making them 2D rather than 3D objects"

Um, no. No it doesn't. See that word "tall"? That's how you know.

In related news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46454859)

Audi announced new tail lights that are just 3 atoms thick.

WHICH UW, moronic editors. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46455575)

slashdot = stagnated

What about the solder joints? (1)

pmario (900036) | about 6 months ago | (#46455953)

Hmm, 3 atoms for the LED and a million atoms for each solder joint.

What does it mean? (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | about 6 months ago | (#46458333)

Is it a single LED that is three atoms thick, or are there 3 individual atom thick LEDs?

If the latter, 1 atom thick is just an atom. So these guys are claiming to have invented an atom.

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