Friday, October 29, 2010

#CHIPS: "Graphene bandgap opened by water vapor"

The next generation of chips will be cast in pure carbon sheets--called graphene--according to industry analysts. What's more, by treating graphene in different ways, the carbon-based material act like a conductor, semiconductor or even an insulator. Many treatments have been proposed, but none as simple as just trapping some humidity inside the package. Look for experimental chips using humidity to evoke semiconducting properties within three years. R. Colin Johnson, Kyoto Prize Fellow @NextGenLog

A graphene film on a silicon dioxide substrate is being electrically tested using a four-point probe.

Carbon sheets—graphene—can conduct electricity up to a million times better than conventional silicon pathways on microchips, making them a strong candidate for future on-chip interconnection layers. To use graphene as a semiconductor, however, requires opening a bandgap across which electrons must jump, thereby enabling the switching operations of a digital computer. Now Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) claims to have discovered a simple method of opening a bandgap in graphene with water. What's more, by controlling the amount of humidity inside chip packages, RPI researchers showed that graphene's bandgap could be tuned for specific applications...
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