Graphene might replace copper and silicon

July 24, 2007 at 5:25 PM
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TROY, N.Y., July 24 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers are advancing the role of graphene as a possible successor to the use of copper and silicon in nanoelectronics.

Graphene, a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon, was first produced in the laboratory in 2004 with the help of common adhesive tape. Graphite, the common material used in most pencils, is made up of countless layers of graphene. Researchers simply used the gentle stickiness of the tape to break apart those layers.

Now Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Associate Professor Saroj Nayak, collaborating with graduate student Philip Shemella and colleagues, has determined how graphene's extremely efficient conductive properties can be exploited for use in nanoelectronics.

After running dozens of computer simulations using quantum mechanics, the group demonstrated for the first time that the length, as well as the width, of graphene directly impacts the material's conduction properties.

Nayak, Shemella, Professor Pulickel Ajayan, and graduate students Yiming Zhang and Mitch Mailman report their findings in the July 23 issue of Applied Physics Letters.

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