IBM, and in particular Phaedon Avouris and his colleagues at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center, has been focused on developing graphene for use in electronics applications.
Last year we reported on their work in creating a band gap for graphene and now Avouris and his team are reporting on a new route to fabricating graphene-based transistors that is compatible with current manufacturing techniques.
The research was initially published in the journal Nature and focused its efforts with graphene in one of its favored potential electronic applications: radio frequency (RF) transistors.
Where previous attempts to create RF transistors out of graphene suffered from a fabrication process that was a manual and time consuming process, the IBM researchers employed a clever vapor deposition method that avoided both the adverse effects other vapor deposition techniques had on the electronic properties of graphene and kept away from the labor intensive techniques.
The researchers grew the graphen on copper film and then deposited it on a diamond-like carbon with a resulting transistor that has “…cut-off frequencies as high as 155 GHz…for 40-nm transistors.”In the Chemical & Engineering News article cited above Frank Schwierz, a device physicist at the Technical University of Ilmenau, in Germany, offered some context for the work.
“The approach of the IBM team is very interesting because it is compatible with common semiconductor processing,” Schwierz is quoted as saying in the C&E News article. “At this early stage, before the fabrication method has been optimized, Schwierz is cautious about calling the technique a breakthrough. “But it may turn out to be very useful in the future.”
Dexter Johnson is a contributing editor at IEEE Spectrum, with a focus on nanotechnology.