Feeds

Boffins crack superconducting graphene's melting mystery

Next-gen high-speed transistors go 3D to slash leaks

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Scientists in Manchester appear to have solved a problem with graphene that has plagued the super-material's fans since it was sliced into being in 2004.

The breakthrough takes the wunder-material one step closer to being the new silicon, and powering a new wave of computers.

Graphene lattice, credit AlexanderAlUS, via Wikimedia

Graphene's incredible properties - including superconductivity - made it almost too conductive to work with computers. Graphene transistors packed densely in a computer chip leaked too much current and instantly caused the chip to melt.

Russo-British scientists Professor Andre Geim and Professor Konstantin Novoselov – who jointly won the 2010 Nobel Physics Prize for their work in graphene – seem to have got around that problem.

Their innovation was aligning the graphene atoms vertically rather than laterally (in plane) - moving into the third dimension. They used graphene as an electrode from which electrons tunnelled through a dielectric into another metal (a tunnelling diode). Then they exploited a truly unique feature of graphene – that an external voltage can strongly change the energy of tunnelling electrons. As a result they got a new type of a device – a "vertical field-effect tunnelling transistor" in which graphene is a critical ingredient.

"It is a new vista for graphene research and chances for graphene-based electronics never looked better than they are now," said Professor Novoselov. To make the transistors, the team came up with the idea of using a layer cake of atoms: layering graphene between atomic planes of boron nitride and molybdenum disulphide.

Dr Leonid Ponomarenko, who spearheaded the experimental effort, said: "We have proved a conceptually new approach to graphene electronics. Our transistors already work pretty well. I believe they can be improved much further, scaled down to nanometre sizes and work at sub-THz frequencies."

Earlier this week the British government announced a £50m grant aimed at keeping the UK as the leading research centre on graphene. Most of the funding will be focused in Manchester. ®

The research paper Field-Effect Tunneling Transistor Based on Vertical Graphene Heterostructures was published this week in Science.

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.