Potential use in military communications; unlikely to replace silicon
Researchers at computer maker IBM have published a paper claiming that they have built high-speed circuits using graphene.
The breakthrough has potential of finding use in a host of applications from phones to military communications.
Graphene is made up carbon atoms having an atomic-scale honeycomb lattice structure.
The researchers said that most of the techniques they used in the research were similar to those employed to make silicon circuits.
IBM has created stand-alone graphene transistors in the past, but this is the first time it could build a complete electronic circuit using graphene.
The scientist who led the project, Phaedon Avouris, said, "We’ve been working on graphene high-frequency transistors for a while, so we took the natural next step to try to make integrated circuits."
"The challenge has been how to propagate integrated circuits on graphene, which has different characteristics than semiconductors such as silicon."
Avouris also added that graphene-based chips would one day replace silicon transistors.
Avouris said, there is a "big misconception" that graphene can work as semiconductors or replace silicon.
"The fact of the matter is that silicon and graphene are in different domains," Avouris said.
"You cannot make digital devices out of graphene."
The graphene circuit can operate at frequencies of up to 10GHz compared to today’s silicon-based circuits’ 40GHz.
The project was supported by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).