Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Could Graphene Replace Silicon in Electronics?

Date:
September 17, 2007
Source:
University of California, Riverside
Summary:
A game of billiards may never get smaller than this. Physicists have demonstrated that graphene -- a one-atom thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in hexagonal rings -- can act as an atomic-scale billiard table, with electric charges acting as billiard balls. The finding underscores graphene's potential for serving as an excellent electronic material.

Image shows graphene, which can act as an atomic-scale billiard table, with electric charges acting as billiard balls.
Credit: Lau lab, UC-Riverside

A game of billiards may never get smaller than this.

Physicists at UC Riverside have demonstrated that graphene -- a one-atom thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in hexagonal rings -- can act as an atomic-scale billiard table, with electric charges acting as billiard balls.

The finding underscores graphene's potential for serving as an excellent electronic material, such as silicon, that can be used to develop new kinds of transistors based on quantum physics. Because they encounter no obstacles, the electrons in graphene roam freely across the sheet of carbon, conducting electric charge with extremely low resistance.

The research team, led by Chun Ning (Jeanie) Lau, found that the electrons in graphene are reflected back by the only obstacle they meet: graphene's boundaries.

"These electrons meet no other obstacles and behave like quantum billiard balls," said Lau, an assistant professor who joined UCR's Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2004. "They display properties that resemble both particles and waves."

Lau observed that when the electrons are reflected from one of the boundaries of graphene, the original and reflected components of the electron can interfere with each other, the way outgoing ripples in a pond might interfere with ripples reflected back from the banks.

Her lab detected the "electronic interference" by measuring graphene's electrical conductivity at extremely low (0.26 Kelvin) temperatures. She explained that at such low temperatures the quantum properties of electrons can be studied more easily.

"We found that the electrons in graphene can display wave-like properties, which could lead to interesting applications such as ballistic transistors, which is a new type of transistor, as well as resonant cavities for electrons," Lau said. She explained that a resonant cavity is a chamber, like a kitchen microwave, in which waves can bounce back and forth.

In their experiments, Lau and her colleagues first peeled off a single sheet of graphene from graphite, a layered structure consisting of rings of six carbon atoms arranged in stacked horizontal sheets. Next, the researchers attached nanoscale electrodes to the graphene sheet, which they then refrigerated in a cooling device. Finally, they measured the electrical conductivity of the graphene sheet.

Graphene, first isolated experimentally less than three years ago, is a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice of carbon atoms, and, structurally, is related to carbon nanotubes (tiny hollow tubes formed by rolling up sheets of graphene) and buckyballs (hollow carbon molecules that form a closed cage).

Scientifically, it has become a new model system for condensed-matter physics, the branch of physics that deals with the physical properties of solid materials. Graphene enables table-top experimental tests of a number of phenomena in physics involving quantum mechanics and relativity.

Bearing excellent material properties, such as high current-carrying capacity and thermal conductivity, graphene ideally is suited for creating components for semiconductor circuits and computers. Its planar geometry allows the fabrication of electronic devices and the tailoring of a variety of electrical properties. Because it is only one-atom thick, it can potentially be used to make ultra-small devices and further miniaturize electronics.

Study results appear in Science on September 14.

Lau, whose research focuses on nanowires, carbon nanotubes, graphene and other organic molecules, was joined in the research by UCR's Feng Miao, Sithara Wijeratne, Wenzhong Bao, Yong Zhang and Ulas C. Coskun. The research was performed at UCR. Currently, Zhang is at Southwest University, China; Coskun is at Duke University, N.C.

UCR startup funds and the UCR Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering supported the research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, Riverside. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California, Riverside. "Could Graphene Replace Silicon in Electronics?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070914144009.htm>.
University of California, Riverside. (2007, September 17). Could Graphene Replace Silicon in Electronics?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070914144009.htm
University of California, Riverside. "Could Graphene Replace Silicon in Electronics?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070914144009.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Comparing his current crop of drones to early personal computers, DJI founder Frank Wang says the industry is poised for a growth surge - assuming regulators in more markets clear it for takeoff. Jon Gordon reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand

3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand

AP (July 30, 2014) 3-D printing is a cool technology, but it's not exactly a hands-on way to make things. Enter the 3Doodler: the pen that turns you into the 3-D printer. AP technology writer Peter Svensson takes a closer look. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins