Feb 042012
 
The ideal crystalline structure of graphene is...

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Chances for graphene-based electronics never looked better than they are now

 
Graphene’s incredible properties – including superconductivity – made it almost too conductive to work with computers. Graphene transistors packed densely in a computer chip leaked too much current and instantly caused the chip to melt.

Russo-British scientists Professor Andre Geim and Professor Konstantin Novoselov – who jointly won the 2010 Nobel Physics Prize for their work in graphene – seem to have got around that problem.

Their innovation was aligning the graphene atoms vertically rather than laterally (in plane) – moving into the third dimension. They used graphene as an electrode from which electrons tunnelled through a dielectric into another metal (a tunnelling diode). Then they exploited a truly unique feature of graphene – that an external voltage can strongly change the energy of tunnelling electrons. As a result they got a new type of a device – a “vertical field-effect tunnelling transistor” in which graphene is a critical ingredient.

“It is a new vista for graphene research and chances for graphene-based electronics never looked better than they are now,” said Professor Novoselov.

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