Graphene is a revolutionary material in and of itself. Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work with two dimensional material graphene.
Graphene is an atomic-scale honeycomb lattice made of carbon atoms.
The team thinks that they can improve the efficiency on it. If they manage to do so, the chips would be a huge help to the telecommunications industry, providing consumers with stronger signals in areas where they usually lack coverage.
More than one team has been working on the graphene transistors and receivers; though they find it difficult to connect single-carbon-atom-sheets to the metals and alloys typically utilized on the chips. The circuit also makes use of aluminum, gold and palladium; all of which have bad chemistry with graphene. The sensitivity of the graphene doesn’t help, it can be quickly and irreparably damaged in the etching process. Yu-Ming Lin and several team members from IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center discuss this fact in a paper on the circuit.
Despite the mentioned progress, there is still more research to be done before these graphene FET chips dominate the technology market. The researchers at IBM aren’t resting though, they already have some ideas on how to improve the next generation of designs. One of these ideas is for a metal that doesn’t degrade graphene’s electrical conductivity. More information on the research can be read about in Science.
The commercialization of the material could mean huge business leverages for IBM as they capitalize on their growing technology in the field. We’ll have to wait and see when practical research can be conducted on the materials.
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