Graphene is a promising substrate for electronics devices for its physical properties that allow easy miniaturization. This semiconductor material has unique electrical characteristics that enable innovative solutions for many specific applications like wearables, light-on-chip, printed electronics, and supercapacitors. For all of these reasons many companies in the electronics sector have invested funds in project to further develop this material:
“29 January, 2015 – Bangalore, India: Graphene Semiconductor Services Pvt. Ltd. today said that it has received Rupees 4.95 crores in a first phase funding from the Karnataka Semiconductor Venture Capital Fund (KARSEMVEN Fund) recognizing the startup’s unique approach to semiconductor technology in product realization, from concept, to product deployment.” (Source: Graphene Semiconductors)
Such research is focused on the exceptional physical properties of Graphene in terms of thickness, stability and flexibility. These investigations have led researchers to explore new materials that have properties similar to Graphene, which show an interesting additional option: the possibility to set the state of electrons inside the material as STATE ON or STATE OFF (see Figure 1).
“Semiconductors, as thin as a single layer of atoms, are no longer a dream of the future: Researchers in Germany, the United States and Poland have together developed a two-dimensional material that could revolutionize electronics. Its semiconducting properties make this material appear suited for advanced applications even much better than graphene. … The new material, introduced to the public in the scientific magazine ACS Nano, contains carbon, boron and nitrogen, its chemical name is Hexagonal Boron-Carbon-Nitrogen (h-BCN).” (Source: EE News Europe)
“In their recent article from ACS Nano (published online; DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.6b08136), Professor Shih-Yuan Liu and his collaborators demonstrate that h-C1B1N1 graphene can be grown on an Ir(111) surface using bis-BN cyclohexane, a small molecule precursor with a 1:1:1 B:C:N stoichiometry that has been developed in the Liu lab in 2014”. (Source: Boston College Chemistry)
This new material might be utilized together Graphene as a possible substrate; the presence of carbon atoms in both of the materials suggests that hybrid systems might be created using a unique diffusion process in the fabrication of the semiconductor wafer. The integration of Graphene with 2D materials is a promising solution that is under investigation by many researchers in the electronics field (see Figure 2):
“Graphene and related inorganic two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials are an exceptional class of compounds with exotic properties that are technologically intriguing. While graphene itself is chemically inert and a gapless semimetal, its isostructural analog, molybdenum disulfide (MOS2) is chemically versatile with band gaps, thereby finding significant use in a myriad of applications. Although these 2D nanomaterials individually possess tremendous authority for various applications, the combination of these materials in the recent past has created a new paradigm in emerging applications”. (Source: MaterialsToday).
(a) Illustration of multilayered graphene sheets, (b) cross-section illustration of multilayered MoS2 with an interlayer spacing of ~0.65 nm, (c) Exfoliated few-layer MoS2 and rGO flakes. Source:” Graphene and molybdenum disulfide hybrids: synthesis and applications”
The first results in the effectiveness of utilizing Graphene related MoS2 material have just been obtained as confirmed by the recent article published in EE News Europe (see Figure 3): “Using transistors made from layers of molybdenum disulphide (MoS2), a 2D material, researchers from the Graphene Flagship have devised an ultra-thin processor chip integrating 115 transistors and capable of 1-bit logic operations, all in a 0.6mm2 area.” (Source EE News Europe)
The MoS2 microprocessor opens the way to new applications of electronics (Source: Graphene Flagship)
Graphene and its related materials, like h-BCN and the MoS2, represent a huge opportunity for the electronics technology. What are your thoughts on this subject? What potential usages do you see for Graphene-based ICs?