I think we are seeing a new era in semiconductor materials. Our ability to manipulate individual atoms in matrices opens a significant boost for three dimensional devices.
Star Trek had it right, we can use crystals for huge data storage applications.
No, not everything goes into the drain. you have venture into uncharted territories if you need to discover the next big thing. Putting a man on the moon didn't really result in much ROI of $100bn, other than I was the first one there. But the tech developed to achieve this feat is now used everywhere.
While a demonstration of a fabrication is clearly the first step, it sounds like there is a lot of work to be done. The statement that ... "germanane has the potential to be more easily grown using convention semiconductor fabrication equipment than graphane." suggests that it's not the time to throw in the towel on graphane.
Isn' the electron mobility higher in germanium than in silicon? It will be intersting to see if this overcomes some of the negatives of germanium and makes a whole new class of transistor possible.
In my industry we really need a good THz transistor.
It is wonderful how unexpected discoveries like graphene open up new paradigms for exploration along parallel paths. I guess this helps explain why innovation (and evolution) seem to move in jumps rather than small continuous steps.