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Samsung grows graphene on Si wafer

Posted: 09 Apr 2014  Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Samsung  graphene  silicon 

Samsung Electronics has taken a step further in the development of graphene, whose properties—including exceptional conductivity, strength, flexibility, lightness, and transparency—could lead to the commercialisation of flexible displays, terahertz chips and vastly improved electronics.

The research, which was conducted by teams from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) and Sungkyunkwan, focused on exploiting the material for use in chips.

Discovered in 2004 by Professors Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov at the University of Manchester—a feat that earned them the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physics—graphene is seen as a wonder material that can revolutionise products and industrial processes across multiple industries.

Graphene

Graphene's future uses include touchscreens for smartphones, as well as more energy-efficient processors. Source: Wikipedia

The reason graphene isn't everywhere is that it's difficult to manufacture. That's why researchers around the globe are trying to simplify the process. It's a matter of scientific and national interest. Those companies capable of integrating graphene into industrial processes are likely to play a major role in the 21st-century equivalent of the semiconductor revolution that played out in the second half of the 20th century.

Last year, the University of Manchester began building a $100 million National Graphene Institute to commercialise the substance. But research groups in China, South Korea, and the US, among other countries, also have recognised the commercial potential of graphene and are racing to find ways to manufacture the material at scale and to make it commercially useful.

Graphene's presence in consumer goods is limited at the moment to tennis rackets made by Head. But it is likely to be used in future mobile phone touchscreens (particularly flexible ones) and for powerful, energy-efficient computer processors. In November, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to the National Graphene Institute to develop a graphene-based condom, which could advance the foundation's public health goals.

SAIT found a way to grow uniform single-crystal monolayer graphene on a silicon wafer, a necessary step to use graphene on chips instead of traditional semiconductors. Previous efforts focused on multi-crystal synthesis—adding small graphene particles to cover a large area—but that process degraded the advantageous properties of the material.

In a press release, Samsung Electronics called its researchers' work "one of the most significant breakthroughs in graphene research in history."

- Thomas Claburn
  EE Times





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