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Epitaxial Graphene Shows Promise For Replacing Silicon in Electronics

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Georgia Tech students Yike Hu and John Hankinson

Georgia Tech graduate students Yike Hu and John Hankinson observe a high-temperature furnace used to produce graphene on a silicon wafer.

Credit: Gary Meek / Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech researchers recently created an array of 10,000 top-gated transistors on a 0.24-square centimeter chip, believed to be the highest density graphene device ever created. Creating the array utilized a new technique involving templates etched into silicon carbide. "This is another step showing that our method of working with epitaxial graphene grown on silicon carbide is the right approach and the one that will probably be used for making graphene electronics," says Georgia Tech professor Walt de Heer. "We're not trying to do something cheaper or better; we're going to do things that can't be done at all with silicon."

Graphene-based electronic devices could be made as small as a molecule, according to the researchers. "The properties that we see in our epitaxial graphene are similar to what we have calculated for an ideal theoretical sheet of graphene suspended in the air," says Georgia Tech researcher Claire Berger.

The key to the development of the material is creating devices that are reliably consistent, a standard that researchers have almost achieved. "We have shown that we can make macroscopic amounts of this material, and with the devices that are scalable, we have the groundwork that could really make graphene take off," says Georgia Tech's professor Ed Conrad.

From Georgia Institute of Technology
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