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Sans silicon

Silicon may be a thing of the past.


Scientists in Switzerland have come up with the first “promising” alternative to a silicon based microchip. It’s based on a mineral called molybdenite. The chip, which is still in the development stages, could be a step forward, because it can be set out in sheets that are thinner and more flexible than silicon. It also uses less energy, which is a big deal for chips coming into the hand-held market. Yup, people like their chips fast and long-lasting. Professor Andras Kis, who helped develop the chip, praised its flexibility, as he told the BBC, “"If you take a sheet of molybdenite you can stretch it so that it increases its length by 10% - that is a lot in this context. If you did the same with silicon it would break like glass.
As with most technological works-in-progress molybdenite isn’t expected to hit the streets for another 10 to 20 years. So, promises of a flexible phone that conforms to your face are still a ways off.

About the author

Marc Sanchez is the technical director and associate producer for Marketplace Tech Report where he is responsible for shaping the sound of the show.
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