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IBM builds graphene transistor

IBM Research has announced the demonstration of a 100GHz graphene transistor. The company says that its graphene transistor is faster than today’s state-of-the-art transistors, which have a cutoff of 40GHz using the same architecture. Experts say graphene’s properties could lead to even faster transistors.

Graphene is a special form of graphite, composed of a layer of carbon atoms packed in honeycomb lattice. The company’s research, to be published in Science magazine, details how the new graphene technology will enable even higher-frequency transistors. The magazine article was written by IBM Fellow and manager of the company’s nanometer scale science and technology research team, Phaedon Avouris.

Avouris’ paper says, “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. 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 and more recently, graphene films produced by decomposition of the surface of silicon carbide (SiC) substrates or by chemical vapor deposition of hydrocarbons on catalytic metal surfaces.

"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), high-performance graphene devices, and their compatibility with wafer-scale fabrication that would enable complex circuit integration."

Don’t expect to see these devices at RadioShack anytime soon.