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Chinese, US scientists develop revolutionary graphene semiconductor

Source: Xinhua | 2024-01-08
Chinese, US scientists develop revolutionary graphene semiconductor

TIANJIN, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- A collaborative team of Chinese and U.S. scientists have created a viable semiconductor with an on-off switch made of graphene, a carbon material far superior to silicon in terms of its electronic potential.

Graphene, a two-dimensional material made up of just a single layer of carbon atoms, is currently considered to be the most promising electronic material in this field.

However, graphene's zero bandgap structure, resulting in no energy difference when electrons in semiconductors jump between low and high energy zones, previously prevented it from being used to represent 1's and 0's in the electronic computing system.

The researchers from Tianjin University and Georgia Institute of Technology have successfully managed to open the bandgap by producing a graphene on single-crystal silicon carbide (SiC) substrates with a bandgap of 0.6 eV.

In addition, room temperature mobilities of the graphene developed by the two research teams is 10 times greater than that of silicon, according to the study published recently in the journal Nature.

Therefore, it is chemically, mechanically and thermally robust and can be synthesized with conventional semiconductor fabrication techniques, said the researchers.

Moore's Law, stating that computing power doubles every two years, has been challenged by a slowing pace in recent times. This slower pace is due to the extreme difficulties experienced in trying to reduce the size of silicon-based chips to less than two nanometers.

The two-dimensional graphene semiconductor could open up a new path for high-performance electronic devices beyond traditional silicon-based tech, heralding a fundamental change in electronics, said Ma Lei, the paper's corresponding author from Tianjin University.