David Kirkpatrick

February 5, 2010

Graphene transistors are really fast

Fast like already an order of magnitude faster than the quickest silicon transistors. The IBM prototype graphene transistors run at 100 gigahertz.

From the link:

The transistors were created using processes that are compatible with existing semiconductor manufacturing, and experts say they could be scaled up to produce transistors for high-performance imaging, radar, and communications devices within the next few years, and for zippy computer processors in a decade or so.

Researchers have previously made graphene transistors using laborious mechanical methods, for example by flaking off sheets of graphene from graphite; the fastest transistors made this way have reached speeds of up to 26 gigahertz. Transistors made using similar methods have not equaled these speeds.

Growing transistors on a wafer not only leads to better performance, it’s also more commercially feasible, says Phaedon Avouris, leader of the nanoscale science and technology group at the IBM Watson Research Center in Ossining, NY where the work was carried out.

Speedy switches: These arrays of transistors, printed on a silicon carbide wafer, operate at speeds of 100 gigahertz.

Credit: Science/AAAS