Graphene Ushers in a New Wave of Super-Fast Electronics

One of the proposed uses for graphene is the construction of super-fast transistors. This is due to its ability of conducting electrons at near the speed of light. In addition, graphene is flexible and strong, making it ideal for a variety of manufacturing processes. The only impediment to this is that graphene is so electronically efficient that it is considered to have no band-gap. A band-gap is an energy range in which no electron state can exist, thus no conductivity.

Graphene, a single-molecule thick sheet of carbon atoms with amazing properties has been put forward as a potentially revolutionary material for integrated circuits, transistors, batteries, solar cells and much more. Semi-conductors have small but non-zero band-gaps allowing them to switch between states very quickly. The attempt to artificially create band-gaps in a bilayer graphene to modulate current has proven ineffective for more reasons than one. The main reason being that when overlaying single sheets of graphene to create the bilayers needed for electronics, tiny misalignments crop up that result in a miniscule twist in the final product which has huge implications in the electrical properties.

Spectrographic studies show that graphene twists generate massless Dirac fermions-electrons that behave like photons. This means that they are not subject to the engineered band-gaps researchers have been trying to perfect in a bilayer graphene. It is unlikely that graphene will make it into high-performance integrated circuits within the next few years because of this absence. However, many other less stringent, graphene electronic applications are being developed, using the available material.

  •     Touchscreen which has better endurance than benchmark materials.
  •     E-paper with high transmittance of monolayer graphene
  •     Foldable (flexible) OLED. Graphene of high electronic quality has a bendability of below 5mm.
  •     High-Frequency Transistor.
  •     Logic transistor driven by high mobility.
  •     Photo-detectors.

Today’s computer chips sit on a silicon wafer, but the future computer may use a nanotube fabrication of graphene instead. These are considered the future of transistor manufacturing because these structures have excellent properties. In the future, graphene researchers need to improve the quality of synthetic graphene and to study its properties under conditions relevant to technology.

About the author

Chin Trento

Chin Trento holds a bachelor’s degree in applied chemistry from the University of Illinois. His educational background gives him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He has been working with writing advanced materials for over four years in Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM). His main purpose in writing these articles is to provide a free, yet quality resource for readers. He welcomes feedback on typos, errors, or differences in opinion that readers come across.

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