The calculations were made and were promising but making silicene was a harder nut to crack than graphene. It is unstable in air so new techniques had to be developed. A US/Italian team have come up not just with a manufacturing technique but have already managed to construct a working transistor from silicene. This is something that has eluded graphene because it doesn’t have the magic property of an electronic band gap (almost the only thing it doesn’t posses). Silicene does have a bandgap.
The first silicene transistor is not a quantum leap above existing solid-state silicon transistors – its electronic carrier mobility is much slower than graphene but this is early days and first devices are often lumbering beasts compared to the mature version. But there are always many hurdles before the promise is realised. At the very least, this is a space worth watching. It would be rather neat if the replacement for silicon in computing turned out to be silicon again, in its monatomic layer form.
Nature Nanotechnology, March 2015, pp 202-3; 227-31.