Carbon Based Chips May One Day Replace Silicon Transistors

February 3, 2010 by John Messina weblog
Carbon Based Chips May One Day Replace Silicon Transistors

( -- IBM researchers are hopeful that, over the next decade, silicon-based transistors will be replaced by carbon-based transistors. IBM has already laid out the ground work for carbon-based transistors.

Graphene, one of the thinnest known materials, consists of a planar single sheet of carbon arranged in a honeycombed lattice. Graphene sheets also have higher carrier mobilities (the speed at which travel at a given voltage) which translate to carrier mobilities that are hundreds of times larger than used today. This makes graphene ideal for faster chip speeds.

Image depicts carbon-based semiconductor chips with its dual-gate bi-layer graphene field-effect transistors.

However there are a few problems that need to be overcome before carbon-based transistors can be useful. Single layers of graphene sheets act more like a conductor than a semiconductor due to fact they have no band gap.

Semiconductors have a band gap between their conductive and insulating state, which allows them to be easily turned on and off. With a missing , graphene FETs (field-effect transistors) have terrible on-to-off current ratios which is hundreds of times smaller than silicon.

Graphene also heats up considerably when operated at saturated currents. This becomes a big concern because high-performance graphene devices preferably need to operate at the saturation current limits.

Heat transfer from biased graphene into an underlying substrate can be much higher than that found in conventional silicon transistors.

The IBM research team has obtained heat flow results by determining the temperature distribution in active graphene transistors using combined with measurements. They also used heat-flow modeling to calculate how heat travels along and across a graphene flake.

The research has shown that substrate interactions become much more important in graphene electronics than in traditional MOSFETs and heterostructures. This leaves engineers to focus on non-polar substrates and substrates that do not trap charges.

Explore further: AMO Manufactures First Graphene Transistors

More information: Additional information:

Related Stories

AMO Manufactures First Graphene Transistors

February 8, 2007

In the scope of his innovative project ALEGRA the AMO nanoelectronics group of Dr. Max Lemme was able to manufacture top-gated transistor-like field-effect devices from monolayer graphene.

Light-speed nanotech: Controlling the nature of graphene

January 21, 2009

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have discovered a new method for controlling the nature of graphene, bringing academia and industry potentially one step closer to realizing the mass production of graphene-based ...

Unzipping Carbon Nanotubes Can Make Graphene Ribbons

April 20, 2009

( -- By "unzipping" carbon nanotubes, researchers have shown how to make flat graphene ribbons. Graphene, which is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon that looks like chicken wire, has unique electrical properties ...

Next generation devices get boost from graphene research

January 22, 2010

( -- Researchers in the Electro-Optics Center (EOC) Materials Division at Penn State have produced 100 mm diameter graphene wafers, a key milestone in the development of graphene for next generation high-power, ...

Recommended for you

Mathematicians identify limits to heat flow at the nanoscale

November 24, 2015

How much heat can two bodies exchange without touching? For over a century, scientists have been able to answer this question for virtually any pair of objects in the macroscopic world, from the rate at which a campfire can ...

New sensor sends electronic signal when estrogen is detected

November 24, 2015

Estrogen is a tiny molecule, but it can have big effects on humans and other animals. Estrogen is one of the main hormones that regulates the female reproductive system - it can be monitored to track human fertility and is ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (3) Feb 03, 2010
The potential for graphene based transistor devices cannot be overstated. With such a high electron mobility, essentially ballistic, the intrinsic nature of graphene to heal flaws, and the mono-molecular sizes, we are talking the potential for terahertz computers and other types of switching devices. I am confident that efficient transistors will be created by substrate design in the near future. This is really cool stuff.
3 / 5 (2) Feb 04, 2010
Might we one day see "Kryptonian" style or Starcraft Protoss-style crystal supercomputers? Particularly interesting given the other article about new types of Carbon crystals being discovered.

The ultimate space probe may actually be nothing more than a "hard diamond" quantum crystal computer. Being virtually indestructibe AND having incredibly high data storage and processing power.

It's amazing how science fiction/fantasy have an tendency to predict science fact, even in cases where those works were entirely unfounded and baseless at the time they were created.
not rated yet Feb 06, 2010
Perhaps with Quantum Teleportation, we can have Protoss Probes warping in carbon-based transistors in nanofabs :D

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.