For the first time, scientists have succeeded in creating a functional and scalable semiconductor using graphene. This achievement opens the door to a potential revolution in computing by introducing a new type of computer with increased speed and power compared to current chip technology.
Semiconductor chips are increasingly becoming the center of the world economy and have been called the new oil and the oil of the technical year. From data centers to smartphones, computing power accessed through machines is needed in every sector of the economy.
"Walter de Heer, Regents' Professor of physics at Georgia Tech, led a team of researchers based in Atlanta, Georgia, and Tianjin, China, to produce a graphene semiconductor that is compatible with conventional microelectronics processing methods — a necessity for any viable alternative to silicon," an official readout by the Georgia Institute of Technology said.
A single layer of carbon atoms, graphene is incredibly strong over steel of the same thickness. It is an excellent electrical conductor with high heat and acid resistance. Despite these advantages, scientists are working to develop graphene semiconductors that can be controlled to conduct or conduct electricity, which is essential for creating the logic chips that power computers.
The biggest obstacle is the lack of space, an essential property of semiconductors that can control the flow of electrons.
Using silicon carbide wafers heated to evaporate the silicon before the carbon, the researchers led by Walter de Heer and his team at Georgia Tech in Atlanta successfully created graphene with a bandgap. They even demonstrated a functional transistor—a fundamental component acting as an on/off switch for the flow of current.