Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > New graphene transistor promises life after death of silicon chip

Abstract:
Researchers have used the world's thinnest material to create the world's smallest transistor - a breakthrough that could spark the development of a new type of super-fast computer chip.

New graphene transistor promises life after death of silicon chip

Manchester, UK | Posted on February 28th, 2007

Professor Andre Geim and Dr Kostya Novoselov from The School of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Manchester, reveal details of transistors that are only one atom thick and less than 50 atoms wide, in the March issue of Nature Materials.

They believe this innovation will allow the rapid miniaturisation of electronics to continue when the current silicon-based technology runs out of steam.

In recent decades, manufacturers have crammed more and more components onto integrated circuits. As a result, the number of transistors and the power of these circuits has roughly doubled every two years. This has become known as Moore's Law.

But the speed of cramming is now noticeably decreasing, and further miniaturisation of electronics is to experience its most fundamental challenge in the next ten to 20 years, according to the semiconductor industry roadmap.

Two years ago, Professor Andre Geim and his colleagues discovered a new class of materials that can be viewed as individual atomic planes pulled out of bulk crystals.

These one-atom-thick materials and particularly graphene - a gauze of carbon atoms resembling a chicken wire - have rapidly become one of the hottest topics in physics.

The first graphene-based transistor was reported by The University of Manchester team at the same time as the discovery of graphene, and other groups have recently reproduced the result (1).

But these graphene transistors were very 'leaky' (2), which has limited possible applications and ruled out important ones, such as their use in computer chips and other electronic circuits with a high density of transistors.

Now the Manchester team has found an elegant way around the problem and made graphene-based transistors suitable for use in future computer chips.

Professor Geim and colleagues have shown for the first time that graphene remains highly stable and conductive even when it is cut into strips of only a few nanometres (3) wide.

All other known materials - including silicon - oxidise, decompose and become unstable at sizes tens times larger.

This poor stability of these materials has been the fundamental barrier to their use in future electronic devices - and this has threatened to limit the future development of microelectronics.

"We have made ribbons only a few nanometres wide and cannot rule out the possibility of confining graphene even further - down to maybe a single ring of carbon atoms," says Professor Geim.

The research team suggests that future electronic circuits can be carved out of a single graphene sheet. Such circuits would include the central element or 'quantum dot', semitransparent barriers to control movements of individual electrons, interconnects and logic gates - all made entirely of graphene.

Geim's team have proved this idea by making a number of single-electron-transistor devices that work under ambient conditions and show a high-quality transistor action.

"At the present time no technology can cut individual elements with nanometre precision. We have to rely on chance by narrowing our ribbons to a few nanometres in width," says Dr Leonid Ponomarenko, who is leading this research at The University of Manchester. "Some of them were too wide and did not work properly whereas others were over-cut and broken."

But Dr Ponomarenko is optimistic that this proof-of-concept technique can be scaled up.

"To make transistors at the true-nanometre scale is exactly the same challenge that modern silicon-based technology is facing now. The technology has managed to progress steadily from millimetre-sized transistors to current microprocessors with individual elements down to tens nanometres in size.

"The next logical step is true nanometre-sized circuits and this is where graphene can come into play because it remains stable - unlike silicon or other materials - even at these dimensions."

Professor Geim does not expect that graphene-based circuits will come of age before 2025. Until then, silicon technology should remain dominant.

But he believes graphene is probably the only viable approach after the silicon era comes to an end.

"This material combines many enticing features from other technologies that have been considered as alternatives to the silicon-based technology.

"Graphene combines most exciting features from carbon-nanotube, single-electron and molecular electronics, all in one."

####

About University of Manchester
By 2015 The University of Manchester aims to be among the top 25 universities in the world, at the highest international level of research excellence.

The University already has a global reputation for being at the forefront of innovative and enterprising research. With research funding in the region of £170 million rising per year, and Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) results that rival those of Oxford and Cambridge, The University of Manchester is on course to meet its target by 2015.

In the 2001 RAE the separate institutions UMIST and the Victoria University Manchester together accrued a total of 46 top grades of 5* and 5 for its research activity, while Oxford accrued 42 and Cambridge 48.

(1) See Georgia Tech (http://gtresearchnews.gatech.edu/newsrelease/graphene.htm) and AMO (http://www.physorg.com/news90170453.html) for details.

(2) Electrical flow could not be turned off to zero. The so called on-off ratios were 30 or less.

(3) One nanometre is one-millionth of a millimetre and a single human hair is around 80,000 nanometres in width.

A Progress Article entitled 'The rise of graphene' is published in the March issue of Nature Materials. A copy of the article is available on request.

Professor Geim is available for interview but only via email or telephone after 28th February 2007. He can be emailed directly on

Photographs of Professor Geim are available, along with an image of single-electron transistors carved entirely in a graphene sheet, and also an image of a chip containing a graphene-transistor operational under ambient conditions.

Previous releases on graphene for background:

Discovery of Two-Dimensional Fabric Denotes Dawn of New Materials Era
http://www.manchester.ac.uk/press/newsarchive/title,4655,en.htm

One-atom-thick materials promise a 'new industrial revolution'
http://www.manchester.ac.uk/press/title,36799,en.htm

Einstein's relativity theory proven with the 'lead' of a pencil
http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/news/pressreleases/einstein/

The School of Physics and Astronomy is part of the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS). For more information please see: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/eps

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Alex Waddington

44-016-130-63983

Copyright © University of Manchester

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Chip Technology

Harris & Harris Group Notes the Receipt of Proceeds From the Sale of Molecular Imprints' Semiconductor Business to Canon April 22nd, 2014

Progress made in developing nanoscale electronics: New research directs charges through single molecules April 21st, 2014

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin April 18th, 2014

Scientists open door to better solar cells, superconductors and hard-drives: Research enhances understanding of materials interfaces April 14th, 2014

Nanoelectronics

Progress made in developing nanoscale electronics: New research directs charges through single molecules April 21st, 2014

Better solar cells, better LED light and vast optical possibilities April 12th, 2014

Catching the (Invisible) Wave: UC Santa Barbara researchers create a unique semiconductor that manipulates light in the invisible infrared/terahertz range, paving the way for new and enhanced applications April 11th, 2014

Nanotech Business Review 2013-2014 April 9th, 2014

Discoveries

University of Tehran Researchers Invent Non-Enzyme Sensor to Detect Blood Sugar April 23rd, 2014

Gold nanoparticles help target, quantify breast cancer gene segments in a living cell April 23rd, 2014

Atomic switcheroo explains origins of thin-film solar cell mystery April 23rd, 2014

Characterizing inkjet inks: Malvern Instruments presents new rheological research April 23rd, 2014

Announcements

Characterizing inkjet inks: Malvern Instruments presents new rheological research April 23rd, 2014

NanoSafe, Inc. announces the addition of the Labconco Protector® Glove Box to its NanoSafe Tested™ registry April 23rd, 2014

Study finds long-term survival of human neural stem cells transplanted into primate brain April 23rd, 2014

High-Performance, Low-Cost Ultracapacitors Built with Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes: Future devices based on technology could bridge gap between batteries and conventional capacitors in portable electronics and hybrid electric vehicles April 23rd, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE







  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE