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IBM clubs nano noise with graphene sandwich

Mayo or may not usurp silicon transistors

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IBM researchers say they've overcome another obstacle in making the nano material graphene a true star in the semiconductor world.

First discovered in 2004, graphene - an atom-thick layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice - promises the construction of vastly smaller nano electric circuits than even today's tiniest silicon chips. But there are several problems that need to be tackled before it's a practical solution.

One of the headaches in using graphene as a silicon alternative is Hooge's rule — as transistors shrink to ever-smaller dimensions, the tiny electron charges inside a material will threaten to overwhelm a desired signal with unwanted interference.

Scientists at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center in New York state claim to have found a way to reduce that troublesome electric noise in graphene by a magnitude of ten. And the solution is as simple using as the buddy system.

In their experiments, the researchers found that using a single layer of graphene to build a transistor follows the proportional size-to-interference problem. But stacking another sheet of graphene will greatly counteract the influence of the noise. IBM's team reported their discovery in the trade journal, Nano Letters. An abstract is available here.

graphene interference

Spiky lines coming out of something is bad. Just like in cartoons!

The scientists apparently aren't certain exactly why a double-decker graphene transistor so effectively screens the electric noise, but they reckon it's a step in the right direction. IBM claims further detailed analysis and studies are required to better understand the phenomena.

Cha-ching! Sounds like more funding for the lab coats. Congratulations. ®

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