Graphene won't replace silicon in CPUs, says IBM

Graphene won't replace silicon in CPUs, says IBM

Summary: In an about-face move, IBM has revealed that graphene can't fully replace silicon inside CPUs reports Bit-tech, a UK-based hardware enthusiast site. The reason? A graphene transistor can't actually be completely switched off.

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TOPICS: Processors, Hardware, IBM
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It appears that silicon will see another day. In an about-face move, IBM has revealed that graphene can't fully replace silicon inside CPUs reports Bit-tech, a UK-based hardware enthusiast site. The reason? A graphene transistor can't actually be completely switched off.

Credit: Wikipedia/AlexanderAlUS

The publisher has Yu-Ming Lin from IBM Research (Nanometer Scale Science and Technology) on record saying, "graphene as it is will not replace the role of silicon in the digital computing regime."

Graphene is a recently discovered form of carbon that consists of only one plain layer of atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice. It exhibits high conductivity and other intriguing properties and has been widely popularized as the the successor to silicon.

Last year, IBM demonstrated a radio-frequency graphene transistor with a breakthrough frequency of 100 GigaHertz and English scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on the exotic nano-material.

Here are Lin's comments that are to appear in an upcoming interview on Custom PC:

There is an important distinction between the graphene transistors that we demonstrated, and the transistors used in a CPU. Unlike silicon, 'graphene does not have an energy gap, and therefore, graphene cannot be “switched off," resulting in a small on/off ratio.

That doesn't mean curtains for graphene. Lin said that it may complement silicon in the form of a hybrid circuit to enrich the functionality of computer chips such as those used in RF circuits since they aren't dependent on a large on/off ratio.

Intel's director of components research, Mike Mayberry said that silicon’s properties make it a nearly ideal material. "The industry has so much experience with it that there are no plans to move away from silicon as the substrate for chips."

Graphene, in its current research state, may not replace silicon as the main material for building CPUs, but continued research should eventually lead it to a strong foothold in the future of nanoelectronics.

Source: Bit-Tech via Slashdot

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Material found in pencils may hold key to faster computer chips Researchers use ordinary camera flash to create graphene

Topics: Processors, Hardware, IBM

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  • RE: Graphene won't replace silicon in CPUs, says IBM

    What about Gallium arsenide (GaAs) instead?

    Limit is documented as 250GHz, and it can be made 'almost' as dense as lithography fabrication from recent years.

    From an 'internally RISC' processor standpoint it may be a much better material, as it doesn't matter if an instruction takes 10 times as many clock cycles to execute since the processor will be running up to 100 times faster.

    It would be awesome!

    Consider for a moment that many algorithms can not be made parallel by their very nature.
    scott2010au
    • RE: Graphene won't replace silicon in CPUs, says IBM

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  • RE: Graphene won't replace silicon in CPUs, says IBM

    "It exhibits high conductivity and other intriguing properties and has been widely popularized as the the successor to silicon."

    Which explains why I've never heard about it :/.
    CobraA1
  • Politics.

    The entire statement that it's not a suitable replacement is based on the fact that single layer graphene doesn't have a bandgap and therefore cannot be turned on/off. However, bi-layer graphene actually has a tunable bandgap making it the perfect candidate. IBM's misleading 'news' sounds like good-old-fashioned politics to me.
    ALISON SMOCK