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Multilayer graphene seen to replace Si chips

Posted: 20 Oct 2011  Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:graphene  boron nitride  insulator 

Graphene's electrical conductivity has allowed it to be used in FETs and transparent conducting electrodes. However, a team of researchers from the University of Manchester has revealed a property of the material that could make it a probable replacement for silicon chips.

By encapsulating graphene with two sheets of boron nitride, the researchers were able to observe how graphene behaves when unaffected by the environment. Leonid Ponomarenko, the leading author on the paper, stated that the methods allowed them to control graphene's electronic properties in a way that was never done before.

encapsulated graphene

Ponomarenko (who carried out this work) shows his research sample: graphene quantum dots on a chip. (Source: The University of Manchester).

"So far people have never seen graphene as an insulator unless it has been purposefully damaged, but here high-quality graphene becomes an insulator for the first time," he noted. The two layers of boron nitrate are used not only to separate two graphene layers but also to see how graphene reacts when it is completely encapsulated by another material.

"Leaving the new physics we report aside, technologically important is our demonstration that graphene encapsulated within boron nitride offers the best and most advanced platform for future graphene electronics. It solves several nasty issues about graphene's stability and quality that were hanging for long time as dark clouds over the future road for graphene electronics," Ponomarenko said. "We did this on a small scale but the experience shows that everything with graphene can be scaled up. It could be only a matter of several months before we have encapsulated graphene transistors with characteristics better than previously demonstrated."

- Julien Happich
  EE Times





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