Not quite yet, but headway is being made in making graphene the successor to silicon as the semiconductor for electronics. I first blogged about graphene replacing silicon back in late March 2008 (this blog wasn’t even three months old at the time — hit the link and dig the crazy layout I was using for KurzweilAI posts).
From the first link, the latest news — both good and bad — in making graphene the semiconductor of choice:
“Graphene has been the subject of intense focus and research for a few years now,” Philip Kim tells PhysOrg.com. “There are researchers that feel that it is possible that graphene could replace silicon as a semiconductor in electronics.”
Kim is a scientist at Columbia University in New York City. He has been working with Melinda Han and Juliana Brant to try and come up with a way to make graphene a feasible replacement for silicon. Toward that end, they have been looking at ways to overcome some of the problems associated with using graphene as a semiconductor in electronic devices. They set forth some ideas for electron transport for graphene in Physical Review Letters: “Electron Transport in Disordered Graphene Nanoribbons.”
“Graphene has high mobility, and less scattering than silicon. Theoretically, it is possible to make smaller structures that are more stable at the nanolevel than those made from silicon,” Kim says. He points out that as electronics continue to shrink in size, the interest in finding viable alternatives to silicon is likely to increase. Graphene is a good candidate because of the high electron mobility it offers, its stability on such a small scale, and the possibility that one could come up with different device concepts for electronics.
And here’s a bonus fun graphene graphic from the link:
Graphene is an atomic-scale honeycomb lattice made of carbon atoms. By Dr. Thomas Szkopek, via Wikipedia