Breakthrough in developing graphene may lead to high-speed electronics in future

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Washington, January 20 (ANI): A team of scientists has produced the incredible material, graphene, to a size and quality where it can be practically developed, which could hold the key to the future of high-speed electronics, such as micro-chips and touchscreen technology.

Graphene is a strong candidate to replace semiconductor chips, and it could be the solution to ensuring computing technology to continue to grow in power whilst shrinking in size.

It also has potential for exciting new innovations such as touchscreen technology, LCD displays and solar cells.

Though graphene has long shown potential, it has previously only been produced on a very small scale, limiting how well it could be measured, understood and developed.

Now, Researchers across Europe, including the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have, for the first time, produced graphene to a size and quality where it can be practically developed, and successfully measured its electrical characteristics.

Until now, graphene of sufficient quality has only been produced in the form of small flakes of tiny fractions of a millimeter, using painstaking methods such as peeling layers off graphite crystals with sticky tape.

Producing useable electronics requires much larger areas of material to be grown.

This project saw researchers, for the first time, produce and successfully operate a large number of electronic devices from a sizable area of graphene layers (approximately 50 mm2).

The graphene sample, was produced epitaxially - a process of growing one crystal layer on another - on silicon carbide.

Having such a significant sample not only proves that it can be done in a practical, scalable way, but also allowed the scientists to better understand important properties.

The second key breakthrough of the project was measuring graphene's electrical characteristics with unprecedented precision, paving the way for convenient and accurate standards to be established.

The international standard for electrical resistance is provided by the Quantum Hall Effect, a phenomenon whereby electrical properties in 2D materials can be determined based only on fundamental constants of nature.

The effect has, until now, only been demonstrated with sufficient precision in a small number of conventional semiconductors.

Furthermore, such measurements need temperatures close to absolute zero, combined with very strong magnetic fields, and only a few specialised laboratories in the world can achieve these conditions.

Graphene was long tipped to provide an even better standard, but samples were inadequate to prove this.

By producing samples of sufficient size and quality, and accurately demonstrate Hall resistance, the team proved that graphene has the potential to supersede conventional semiconductors on a mass scale. (ANI)

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