IBM hits graphene transistor breakthrough

IBM Research has demonstrated a radio-frequency graphene transistor with the highest frequency (100 GigaHertz) so far.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

IBM Research on Friday will announce that it has demonstrated a radio-frequency graphene transistor with the highest frequency (100 GigaHertz) so far.

Graphene is a special form of graphite, consisting of a layer of carbon atoms packed in honeycomb lattice. In a nutshell, graphene is like "atomic scale chick wire." Graphene's properties could lead to faster transistors.

IBM's paper, which will be published in Science, details how the latest graphene breakthrough could enable new communications devices and electronics. The paper was penned by Phaedon Avouris, IBM Fellow and manager of the company's nanometer scale science and technology research team.

Big Blue along with DARPA is looking to develop carbon electronics.

The graphene transistor IBM demonstrated is already faster than the state-of-the-art transistors today, which have a cut off of 40 Ghz using the same architecture.

Here's an excerpt from IBM's paper:

The high carrier mobility in graphene makes it a promising candidate for high-speed electronic devices. As the thinnest possible electronic material of merely one atom thick, graphene offers great potential to create the smallest and fastest transistors among all semiconductor materials (1). Proof-of-concept demonstration of graphene-based electronics has been provided by demonstrating DC operation of field-effect transistors (FETs) – the fundamental building block of modern microelectronics – using graphene flakes extracted from natural graphite (2), and more recently, graphene films produced by decomposition of the surface of silicon carbide (SiC) substrates (3) or by chemical vapor deposition of hydrocarbons on catalytic metal surfaces (4). In spite of the high hopes and claims for the debut of the era of carbon electronics over the last decade, the missing critical tests for evaluating the viability of this new material for practical applications lie in the challenges of demonstrating high-speed (radio frequency, RF), high-performance graphene devices, and their compatibility with wafer-scale fabrication that would enable complex circuit integration.

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