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Coal: Don't Burn It, Compute with It

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A wafer fabricated with two-dimensional carbon, flanked by two chunks of coal.

This wafer contains transistors fabricated with two-dimensional carbon processed from bituminous Blue Gem coal mined in southeastern Kentucky.

Credit: The Grainger College of Engineering at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. developed a method for creating ultrathin insulating films for semiconductors using coal.

The resulting material, which features coal layered with graphene and molybdenum disulfide semiconductors, outperformed metal oxide and crystalline 2D insulators.

From IEEE Spectrum
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