Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Graphene's high-speed seesaw

Date:
April 30, 2013
Source:
Manchester University
Summary:
A new transistor capable of revolutionizing technologies for medical imaging and security screening has been developed by graphene researchers. The researchers report the first graphene-based transistor with bistable characteristics, which means that the device can spontaneously switch between two electronic states. Such devices are in great demand as emitters of electromagnetic waves in the high-frequency range between radar and infra-red, relevant for applications such as security systems and medical imaging.

A new transistor capable of revolutionising technologies for medical imaging and security screening has been developed by graphene researchers from the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham.
Credit: Image courtesy of Manchester University

A new transistor capable of revolutionising technologies for medical imaging and security screening has been developed by graphene researchers from the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham.

Writing in Nature Communications, the researchers report the first graphene-based transistor with bistable characteristics, which means that the device can spontaneously switch between two electronic states. Such devices are in great demand as emitters of electromagnetic waves in the high-frequency range between radar and infra-red, relevant for applications such as security systems and medical imaging.

Bistability is a common phenomenon -- a seesaw-like system has two equivalent states and small perturbations can trigger spontaneous switching between them. The way in which charge-carrying electrons in graphene transistors move makes this switching incredibly fast -- trillions of switches per second.

Wonder material graphene is the world's thinnest, strongest and most conductive material, and has the potential to revolutionise a huge number of diverse applications; from smartphones and ultrafast broadband to drug delivery and computer chips. It was first isolated at The University of Manchester in 2004.

The device consists of two layers of graphene separated by an insulating layer of boron nitride just a few atomic layers thick. The electron clouds in each graphene layer can be tuned by applying a small voltage. This can induce the electrons into a state where they move spontaneously at high speed between the layers.

Because the insulating layer separating the two graphene sheets is ultra-thin, electrons are able to move through this barrier by 'quantum tunnelling'. This process induces a rapid motion of electrical charge which can lead to the emission of high-frequency electromagnetic waves.

These new transistors exhibit the essential signature of a quantum seesaw, called negative differential conductance, whereby the same electrical current flows at two different applied voltages. The next step for researchers is to learn how to optimise the transistor as a detector and emitter.

One of the researchers, Professor Laurence Eaves, said: "In addition to its potential in medical imaging and security screening, the graphene devices could also be integrated on a chip with conventional, or other graphene-based, electronic components to provide new architectures and functionality.

"For more than 40 years, technology has led to ever-smaller transistors; a tour de force of engineering that has provided us with today's state-of-the-art silicon chips which contain billions of transistors. Scientists are searching for an alternative to silicon-based technology, which is likely to hit the buffers in a few years' time, and graphene may be an answer."

"Graphene research is relatively mature but multi-layered devices made of different atomically-thin materials such as graphene were first reported only a year ago. This architecture can bring many more surprises," adds Dr Liam Britnell, University of Manchester, the first author of the paper.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. L. Britnell, R. V. Gorbachev, A. K. Geim, L. A. Ponomarenko, A. Mishchenko, M. T. Greenaway, T. M. Fromhold, K. S. Novoselov, L. Eaves. Resonant tunnelling and negative differential conductance in graphene transistors. Nature Communications, 2013; 4: 1794 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2817

Cite This Page:

Manchester University. "Graphene's high-speed seesaw." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430131354.htm>.
Manchester University. (2013, April 30). Graphene's high-speed seesaw. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430131354.htm
Manchester University. "Graphene's high-speed seesaw." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430131354.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) An electric car that proponents hope will replace horse-drawn carriages in New York City has also been revealed at the auto show. (Apr. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

AFP (Apr. 17, 2014) It walks and runs, even up and down stairs. It can open a bottle and serve a drink, and politely tries to shake hands with a stranger. Meet the latest ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. 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