Silicon, the second most abundant element in Earth’s crust is at the heart of the IT revolution for the last 50 years. As it is the basic building material of transistors, the electronic switches which power the microprocessors, memory chips, digital control logic etc.
The growth of IT industry implied that the transistors reduced in size while their number on a chip and frequency of operation continued to increase. Nowadays, microprocessors have tens of billions transistors, running at some GHz frequency and a few nanometers in size. However further reduction is size or increase in frequency is hitting roadblocks due to quantum effects and heat generation. This has led to search of alternative materials e.g. Germanium which was used to create first transistor in 1947;III-V materials, such as Gallium Arsenide, Indium Arsenide; materials which are just 1atom layer thick e.g. Tin monoxide, Phosphorene, Graphene, Carbon nanotube etc. But the material which is getting maximum research attention is Graphene.
Graphene an allotrope of Carbon in the form of a two-dimensional hexagonal lattice with each atom at the vertex. At 15000 cm2?V?1?s?1 its electron mobility is at least 10 times that of Silicon. And its hole mobility is even more favorable as compared to that of Silicon.The same holds for its thermal conductivity which is at least 10 times that of Silicon and hence could offer a solution to heat dissipation. Scientists at University of California at Los Angeles, at IBM etc. have demonstrated Graphene based transistors with speed about 100 GHz. Researchers are aiming to take the speed to THz. Silicon based commercial microprocessors are yet to touch 10 GHz. Graphene is 200 times stronger than steel, so transistors made up of Graphene would be rugged.
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