Scientists take big step in making graphene a viable silicon substitute

A new study moves the wonder material graphene a major step closer to knocking silicon off as the dominant workhorse of the electronics industry. While silicon is ubiquitous in semiconductors and integrated circuits, researchers have been eyeing graphene, a one-atom-thick layer of crystallized carbon, as an enticing replacement because of the ultrafast speed with which electrons can zip through the material.

A team of researchers at UC Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have found a way to control the movement and placement of electrons in graphene, and to do so in a way that can make it easy to change the polarity of the charge with an electric field.

The ability to dynamically switch the negative and positive charge without making physical changes to the graphene is a key feature for semiconductor devices.

The research, recently published in the journal Nature Communications, is described in this Penn press release.

The lead researchers are Lane Martin, a UC Berkeley associate professor of materials science and engineering; Andrew Rappe, a Penn professor of chemistry and of materials science and engineering; and Moonsub Shim, a UIUC associate professor of materials science and engineering.

The Army Research Office, National Science Foundation, Nanoelectronics Research Initiative and Office of Naval Research provided support for this research.

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