Feeds

Graphene breakthrough threatens silicon's chip glory

This time they mean it

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

For years graphene has proved a cruel temptress for the semiconductor avant garde. The material - a layer of carbon atoms grouped in the ever popular honeycomb lattice - promised major performance gains over silicon. The problem with the stuff, however, has been arranging it in a large enough layer to replicate the 8- to 12-inch circular wafers favored by the major chip makers.

Some researchers at Princeton University believe they've overcome this problem by routing around it altogether. Stephen Chou, a professor of electrical engineering at Princeton, and his big brained underlings decided to pop small crystals of graphene "only in the active areas of the chip."

We'll let the wise people at Princeton explain the ins and outs.

In their new method, the researchers make a special stamp consisting of an array of tiny flat-topped pillars, each one-tenth of a millimeter wide. They press the pillars against a block of graphite (pure carbon), cutting thin carbon sheets, which stick to the pillars. The stamp is then removed, peeling away a few atomic layers of graphene.

Finally, the stamp is aligned with and pressed against a larger wafer, leaving the patches of graphene precisely where transistors will be built. The technique is like printing, Chou said. By repeating the process and using variously shaped stamps (the researchers also made strips instead of round pillars), all the active areas for transistors are covered with single crystals of graphene.

One innovation that made the technique possible was to coat the stamp with a special material that sticks to carbon when it is cold and releases when it is warm, allowing the same stamp to pick up and release the graphene.

Excited by their new technique, Chou and friends then went ahead and built transistors right onto the printed graphene crystals. Apparently, this resulted in a 10x boost over silicon transistors in moving, er, "electronic holes," which is a subject about which we won't claim deep knowledge.

The researchers believe the technology could make its way very quickly into devices such as cell phones "that require high power output."

“What we have done is shown that this approach is possible; the next step is to scale it up,” Chou said.

There's a paper on the new technology, but it's locked behind this abstract. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Raspberry Pi B+: PHWOAR, get a load of those pins
More USB ports than your laptop? You'd better believe it...
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.