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Are We Reaching Moore's Law Limit?
The foundation of the accelerating progress in technologies that we've seen over the past four decades is due to the relentless advance of Moore's Law. However, experts now foresee that by the year 2030, the density of silicon computing and the associated increases in chip frequency will be exhausted.
The foundation of the accelerating progress in technologies that
we've seen over the past four decades is due to the relentless advance
of Moore's Law. However, experts now foresee that by the year 2030, the
density of silicon computing and the associated increases in chip
frequency will be exhausted.
While other materials, like molybdenite, represent possible
alternatives, graphene is the wonder material most likely to solve the
problem of making ever-faster computers and smaller mobile devices when
current silicon microchip technology hits the wall.
Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms in a tight hexagonal
arrangement with theoretical speeds 100 times greater than silicon. But
transforming graphene into microchips that can outperform current
silicon technology has proven difficult.
The answer may lie in new
nanoscale systems based on ultra-thin layers of materials with exotic
properties. Called two-dimensional layered materials, these systems
could be important for microelectronics, various types of
hyper-sensitive sensors, catalysis, tissue engineering, and energy
As described in the journal ACS Nano, researchers at Penn
State have applied a two-dimensional combination of graphene and
hexagonal boron nitride to produce improved transistor performance at an
industrially relevant scale.
This is the first time engineers have been able to use boron and
graphene to make transistors at "wafer scale": from 3 to 12 inches in
diameter. In the article, the Penn State team describes a method for
integrating a thin layer of graphene only one or two atoms thick, with a
second layer of hexagonal boron nitride with a thickness varying
between a few atoms and several hundred atoms.
The resulting bi-layer material constitutes the next step in creating
functional graphene field-effect transistors for high-frequency
electronic and opto-electronic devices.
In the near future, the Penn State team hopes to demonstrate
graphene-based integrated circuits and high-performance devices suitable
for industrial-scale manufacturing on 100mm wafers.
Best of all, since the process uses standard lithography techniques,
it's compatible with current processing technology while offering a
six-to-nine times performance boost.
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