14 February 2010

[Yet more] Researchers make faster-than-silicon graphene chips

Egad. A few hours after posting the graphene news from IBM, I encounter this apparently parallel development:

Researchers make faster-than-silicon graphene chips
updated 06:35 pm EST, Wed February 3, 2010
Penn State finds method of making graphene chips

A carbon semiconductor called graphene could replace silicon in computer chips in the near future, researchers at Penn State found. They claim to have developed a way to put the graphene on 4-inch wafers. The Electro-Optics Center Materials Division scientists say their work can eventually lead to chips that are 100 to 1,000 times faster than silicon.

Graphene is a crystalline form of carbon that is made up of two-dimension hexagonal arrays which is ideal for electronic applications. Attempting to place the material onto sheets using the usual methods turns them into irregular graphite structures, however. David Snyder and Randy Cavalero at Penn State say they came up with a method called silicon sublimation that removes silicon from silicon carbide wafers and leaves pure graphene.

A similar process has been used for graphene before, but the EOC is the first group that claims it has perfected the process to a point that lets them produce 4-inch wafers. The smallest wafers using a more conventional method have resulted in 8-inch graphene wafers. Typical wafers used for processors today are roughly 11 inches across. [via EETimes]

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