Carbon nanosheets may help create super-fast chips

January 9th, 2008 - 2:44 pm ICT by admin  

London, January 9 (ANI): Scientists at the University of Manchester say that atom-thick sheets of a carbon compound called graphene let electrons travel so freely that they may pave the way for a new generation of super-fast microelectronics.

The researchers reckon that pure graphene, a sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagon pattern from which graphite is obtained, should allow electrons to travel more easily than in any other material like gold, silicon, gallium arsenide, and carbon nanotubes.

They say that, as compared to the 8500 cm2/Vs electronic quality of gallium arsenide and 1500 cm2/Vs of silicon, the electronic quality of good quality graphene without impurities should reach up to 200,000 cm2/Vs at room temperature.

The term electronic quality is an expression used for the mobility of charge in a semiconductor, which governs the speeds the material is able to provide in electronics.

During experiments, the researchers found that two different factors slowing down the movement of charge in graphene.

The first factor ripples in the sheets that trap vibrations from heat passing through the graphene, which in turn slow down the travelling electrons cannot be changed, say the researchers.

Whereas, the second source of electron congestion impurities in the graphene can be removed through better manufacturing, they say.

This suggests that the material’s electronic quality should reach the proposed record-breaking levels.

“Graphene exhibits the highest electronic quality among all known materials. Our work singles it out as the best possible material for electronic applications,” New Scientist magazine quoted Andre Geim of the Manchester University team as saying.

The experimental devices used in this research were made by carefully peeling off layers of graphene from chunks of graphite using sticky tape, a technique that is of little use to semiconductor companies.

Walt de Heer, a researcher at Georgia Tech University in the US, is now studying how to overcome this practical problem.

The research will be published in a forthcoming edition of the journal Physical Review Letters. (ANI)

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