Samsung Creates a Graphene Transistor with a Band Gap and Electron Mobility

Instead of changing the characteristics of graphene, Samsung researchers changed how digital switches operate

1 min read
Samsung Creates a Graphene Transistor with a Band Gap and Electron Mobility

 

Getting a graphene-based transistor to turn on and off has typically meant sacrificing its incredible electron mobility in the bargain. And the truth of it is that graphene's electron mobility—which is 200 times greater than that of silicon—is what has made it such an attractive alternative in a post silicon world.

Lately, research has been focused on coming up with different varieties of graphene better suited to electronics applications. A so-called “graphene monoxide (GMO)” looks promising, and an isotopically engineered graphene could find use in heat management applications for electronics. 

Researchers at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology have taken a different approach. Instead of altering the graphene, they have re-engineered the basic operating principles of digital switches.

They developed a three-terminal active device (described in the journal Science) in which the key feature is a “an atomically sharp interface between graphene and hydrogenated silicon.” The device, capable of switching on and off via a Schottky barrier that controls the flow of current by changing its height, does so without the graphene losing any of its precious electron mobility. 

Whenever you demonstrate a transistor, you get the usual refrain of: “Let me know when you make a simple logic circuit.” Ask and it shall be given. The Samsung researchers have reported the most basic logic gate (inverter) and logic circuits (half-adder) as part of their research, and demonstrated a basic operation (adding).

With nine patents already filed around this research, maybe this will be the way forward in bringing graphene to commercial electronics.

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A Circuit to Boost Battery Life

Digital low-dropout voltage regulators will save time, money, and power

11 min read
Image of a battery held sideways by pliers on each side.
Edmon de Haro

YOU'VE PROBABLY PLAYED hundreds, maybe thousands, of videos on your smartphone. But have you ever thought about what happens when you press “play”?

The instant you touch that little triangle, many things happen at once. In microseconds, idle compute cores on your phone's processor spring to life. As they do so, their voltages and clock frequencies shoot up to ensure that the video decompresses and displays without delay. Meanwhile, other cores, running tasks in the background, throttle down. Charge surges into the active cores' millions of transistors and slows to a trickle in the newly idled ones.

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