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Will graphene really take the semiconductor industry towards the "Beyond CMOS" era? Some answers to this key question are sought through experiment and simulation in a European research project on Graphene-based Nanoelectronic Devices called "GRAND". The project starts January 1st, 2008 and is coordinated by Nanotechnology specialist AMO GmbH in Aachen, Germany. The partners of the consortium are AMO, the Italian Nanoelectronics network IUNET, CEA-LETI from France, Tyndall National Institute (Ireland), Cambridge University (UK) and ST Microelectronics (France).
The silicon semiconductor industry is the cornerstone of today's high-tech economy. Through continuous downsizing of components and cost reductions, it has fuelled other industries for the past decades. Today the semiconductor industry is facing fundamental challenges and severe economic constraints, and it is expected that the historic trend of downscaling silicon devices will come to an end in about 10-15 years. The major challenge is therefore to find alternatives for information processing and storage beyond the limits of existing CMOS technology. Graphene, an atomic monolayer of carbon, is particularly promising due its novel electronic properties. Initial data indicates that graphene is a prime candidate for "Beyond CMOS" switches and interconnects, and is, despite its revolutionary nature, complementary to conventional CMOS. Its remarkable properties include potential for ballistic conductance at room temperature, current densities exceeding those of current nanoscale interconnects and carrier mobilities rivalling those of III-V devices at room temperature.
The GRAND project partners will investigate graphene towards its applicability for nanoscale "Beyond CMOS" switches and local interconnects. The partners share an extensive scientific and industrial background in nanoelectronic devices and a strong history of collaboration at the European level. The consortium includes experimental, analytic and theoretical groups, each with internationally acknowledged excellence in their field. Coordinator AMO (DE) will use its flexible nano-CMOS process platform to fabricate and characterize nanoscale graphene switches and interconnects. Partner IUNET (IT) will contribute to the project by devoting its renowned expertise in device modelling and simulation. CEA-LETI (FR) will focus its research on large scale graphene fabrication. The Nanotechnology Group at Tyndall National Institute (IE) provides a unique infrastructure for directed assembly of graphene crystallites and the functionalization of edge states. The University of Cambridge Semiconductor Physics group (UK) is ideally suited to detailed analysis and low temperature characterisation of graphene devices. Industry partner ST Microelectronics (FR) will ensure a tight focus on the future applicability and industrial relevance of the research.
Graphene provides the decisive potential of increasing computing performance, functionality and communication speed far beyond the expected limits of conventional CMOS technology. The GRAND consortium includes internationally renowned experimental and theoretical groups from academia and industry, forming a comprehensive unit with capabilities far beyond those of the individual partners. In summary, this ensures a tight focus on the exploitation of the project results for the European societies.
About The GRAND project
The GRAND project, complementary to the national BMBF (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) NanoFutur project "ALEGRA" (www.alegra.info), is supported by the European Commission (EC) within the Seventh Framework Programme, Future and Emerging Technologies, Proactive Intiative: Nano-Scale ICT Devices and Systems under contract number 215752.
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Dr.-Ing. Max Lemme
Gesellschaft für Angewandte Mikro- und Optoelektronik mbH
52074 Aachen, Germany
Phone: +49 241 - 88 67 207
Fax: +49 241 - 88 67 560
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