Samsung graphene "miracle material" (via Samsung)
Graphene is back on the scene again, and this time it was sighted in the R&D labs at the Samsung Institute of Technology. SAIT recently announced that they have developed a new transistor architecture using the ‘miracle material.' Conventional silicon transistors have just about reached their speed limit even with a size reduction or shortening the connections the electrons have to travel, so in order to increase the electrons speed a new semiconductor material is needed.
Graphene (or even better; silicene) is thought to be the obvious solution since it has a high electron mobility capability 200 times that of silicon, but it does present one problem in that current can’t be switched off (typical gate of 1’s and 0’s except without the 0’s). Scientists have accomplished turning graphene into a zero-gap semiconductor to overcome this problem. However that comes with a price: speed reduction.
The engineers at the SAIT R&D labs have succeeded in creating a device, called ‘Barristor’ (graphene-silicon Schottky barrier), which can switch off the current with no speed reduction in electron flow. The device can turn electrical current on or off based on raising the height of the barrier (hence the name) by using a metallic semiconductor interface which prevents the current from flowing to the silicon. These barriers are normally used in diodes but have now been adapted by SAIT (9 patents alone for the Graphene Barristor) to develop graphene transistors.
This means that future electronics such as CPU’s will become infinitely faster (think 10-20GHz) over current processors with an overall reduction in size. If Samsung is successful in bringing the new transistors to the consumer market, it would be feasible to have an ultra-fast desktop computer the size of a smartphone in your pocket!