IBM spins nanotubes, wire and graphene

IBM spins nanotubes, wire and graphene

Summary: IBM has revealed three new developments that aim to power tomorrow's digital technology. Based on nanotubes, nanowires and graphene, their common factor is compatibility with today's production techniques

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  • Graphene wafer

    At the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting in Washington DC on Monday, IBM outlined three important new developments in digital technology.

    Pictured above is what IBM describes as the first 8-inch graphene Field Effect Transistor (FET) wafer: it is in fact almost entirely silicon, with a single layer of graphene pattern deposited onto it as part of the production process.

    In (b), the wafer has been diced; the single die shown here would normally then be embedded in a plastic package. Slide (c) shows a single graphene FET (S is source, D is drain and G is gate), while (d) shows the two fingers of graphene that sit above the metal gates.

    Although the transistor shows high voltage gain and other desirable characteristics, it's still much larger than the latest production silicon — with feature sizes of around 1μm (1000nm), compared to the 32nm found in Intel processors.

    Image credit: IBM

  • Graphene wafer diagram

    This is how you make a silicon wafer with graphene components. The set of processes, listed down the right-hand side of the image, are common to most silicon device fabrication, making the whole production sequence very relevant on the path to working commercial parts.

    Graphene is deposited as a single layer across the entire wafer, which is then formed into the right pattern for the components it will help form. Other techniques shared with mainstream state-of-the-art wafer production include ultra-thin hafnium dielectrics and metal gates.

    The square grey spiral on top, placed during inductor metal formation, is particular to this design and applicable mainly to radio frequency circuits such as this one.

    Image credit: IBM

Topics: Graphene, Emerging Tech

Rupert Goodwins

About Rupert Goodwins

Rupert started off as a nerdy lad expecting to be an electronics engineer, but having tried it for a while discovered that journalism was more fun. He ended up on PC Magazine in the early '90s, before that evolved into ZDNet UK - and Rupert evolved with them into an online journalist.

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