Graphene dreams

Researchers have developed a transistor from graphene membrane, a “new class of carbon allotrope”. And no, I don’t know what that means either. But it sure sounds promising:

Researchers at the University of Manchester, working with a group at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, claim to have created transistors that are just one atom-thick and less than 50 atoms wide from a new class of material.

The substance, dubbed graphene, is described as a two-dimensional material that exhibits exceptionally high crystal and electronic quality, and the researchers claim has numerous potential applications in condensed matter physics and electronics.

The resulting transistor is way smaller than silicon transistors, requires less charge to control, and could be much faster. There’s only one small hitch.

They caution there is still some way to go to create a working chip from graphene single-electron transistors, with etching being a particular area for future work.

Professor Geim indicated graphene based circuits would not come of age before 2025 and till then silicon based devices would predominate.

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