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New method allows researchers to make graphene with semiconductor or metallic properties at will

Today, the interconnects in a CPU or any other electronic device using a semiconductor are made from copper. Scientists are looking at ways to use new material for these interconnects using substances that are faster and produce less heat.

One of the new materials with the most potential is called graphene. Researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute claim that they have discovered a new method for controlling graphene's nature. Graphene is a one-atom thin sheet of carbon that was discovered in 2004.

Graphene is being used by researchers at Rice University to make a new type of memory that could one day replace flash storage. Before graphene memory and other nanoelectronics using graphene can become a reality, researchers have to find more effective methods of producing graphene with the properties they need.

Rensselaer researcher Saroj Nayak and a postdoctoral research associate have demonstrated a new method that can be used to control the nature of graphene. According to the pair, the nature of graphene can be controlled depending on the substrate on which it is grown, thus shaping its conductive properties.

Results based on large-scale quantum mechanical simulations show that graphene deposited on a surface treated with oxygen results in semiconductor properties while graphene deposited on a surface treated with hydrogen exhibits metallic properties.

This is a key discovery according to the researchers because when a conventional batch of graphene is produced some of it has semiconductor properties and some has metallic properties. The researchers say that using conventional methods it would be impossible to extract one form of graphene. Devices based on graphene would need to have only one graphene form in order to function.

Nayak said in a statement, "Depending on the chemistry of the surface, we can control the nature of the graphene to be metallic or semiconductor. Essentially, we are ‘tuning’ the electrical properties of material to suit our needs."

The reason researchers are pushing so hard to discover better methods for the production of graphene is that the substance could one day replace silicon and copper as the building blocks of electronics. Graphene has excellent conductive properties and at room temperature, electrons can pass through it at close to the speed of light with very little resistance.

Interconnects made from graphene would therefore create much less heat and would be able to run cooler. Cooler interconnects are important because heat can have a negative effect on a CPUs speed and performance. Just consider the huge increases overclockers are able to get out of a CPU when it is cooled more efficiently as an example.

The results of the study by the Rensselaer researchers was published in a paper this week titled "Electronic structure and band-gap modulation of graphene via substrate surface chemistry" published in Applied Physics Letters' January issue.

It is interesting to note that the researchers who were trying to make memory using graphene were using ten atom thick sheets of graphene, whereas the researchers at Rensselaer are using single atom thick graphene sheets.



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Some thoughts
By William Gaatjes on 1/22/2009 5:31:34 PM , Rating: 2
Is it me or is carbon one of the most stable and versatile elements there is ? It seems to be a able to perfectly conduct electricity. It seems to be able to perfectly conduct heat. Carbon even seems to have magnetic abilities rivaling those of iron even while it's 6 elektrons seem to cancel eachothers spin out. All of this when pushing the carbon atom under the right but not even extreme circumstances. When bonded with other elements carbon creates stable bonds. I always see a picture of oscillations, peaks and falls, cancellation amplification, harmonics...




RE: Some thoughts
By Rodney McNaggerton on 1/22/09, Rating: -1
RE: Some thoughts
By William Gaatjes on 1/22/2009 5:58:02 PM , Rating: 2
Sigh....

Is it that hard to google when somebody like for example me makes a statement :

See the first 3 hits i get when doing a google for it...

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/print/20627

http://www.aip.org/pnu/2004/split/678-1.html

http://books.google.com/books?id=Qj9R7Tr45tUC&pg=P...


RE: Some thoughts
By Darkskypoet on 1/22/2009 7:05:47 PM , Rating: 2
Dude!!! You beat me to it by a second.. lol.. My reply wasn't to you.. but to the Mag doubter.. :) And yea.. google carbon magnetic... :)


RE: Some thoughts
By William Gaatjes on 1/23/2009 1:20:26 AM , Rating: 2
That's ok. At first i read my post back thinking i may have been wrong too but i thought where there is electricity there is magnetism and then i googled for it when he posted it was not possible :)


RE: Some thoughts
By on 1/23/09, Rating: -1
RE: Some thoughts
By RoberTx on 1/22/2009 7:20:43 PM , Rating: 2
Willy! My eyes are open and I can see! Thanks for the truly interesting info.


RE: Some thoughts
By William Gaatjes on 1/23/2009 1:21:25 AM , Rating: 2
As Eek the cat always would say :

"It never hurts to help."


RE: Some thoughts
By jaysan on 1/22/2009 8:48:56 PM , Rating: 3
It's even good for making living things.


RE: Some thoughts
By PhatoseAlpha on 1/22/2009 9:14:46 PM , Rating: 3
It's not just you. Nano-black, superconductors, impossibly strong nanotubes, the hardest material known to man, and the friggin' chemical backbone of life.

Carbon is the pixie dust of the universe.


RE: Some thoughts
By FITCamaro on 1/22/2009 11:00:12 PM , Rating: 3
Give them time and they'll make crack out of it.


RE: Some thoughts
By PrinceGaz on 1/22/2009 10:03:27 PM , Rating: 2
Carbon? Isn't that the stuff coal is made of, and the bit of a pencil you write with?

That all sounds too dirty to me, I wouldn't like any carbon anywhere near my body. Fortunately as I use electric-heating (they burn the coal at the other end of the electricity lines), and always write using a pen, there is no carbon near me. ... ;)


RE: Some thoughts
By MadMan007 on 1/22/2009 10:16:50 PM , Rating: 2
Oh dear god, they'll have to call it something fancy rather than graphene in order to get past the carbon footprint gatekeepers.


RE: Some thoughts
By bridgeman on 1/23/2009 1:15:03 AM , Rating: 4
Actually, the environmentalists will love it. Just think of all that carbon taken out of the atmosphere and used to make graphene!

Who needs to plant new rainforests or pump CO2 into underground reservoirs? More electronics are the answer!

Computer chips: the new carbon sequestration.


RE: Some thoughts
By KashGarinn on 1/23/09, Rating: 0
RE: Some thoughts
By PaxtonFettel on 1/23/2009 4:06:22 AM , Rating: 2
I think your sarcasm detector is out of whack...


RE: Some thoughts
By MrPoletski on 1/23/2009 8:38:40 AM , Rating: 3
he turned it off to reduce his carbon footprint.


RE: Some thoughts
By MrPoletski on 1/23/2009 8:36:35 AM , Rating: 2
Graphene just gets more promising every day.

So much so I expect people are going to start asking if it can run crysis...


Just a question...
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 1/22/2009 6:37:44 PM , Rating: 2
Graphene is a one-atom thin sheet of carbon that was discovered in 2004.

With that thought in mind. Can anything be thinner then one-atom? Or would you have to split an Atom to get thinner? If yes have to split an Atom would that prove being to thin is dangerous to yourself and others?




RE: Just a question...
By joeindian1551 on 1/22/2009 7:55:19 PM , Rating: 3
Atoms are composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons which are each composed of even smaller particles called quarks.

So, yes you can get smaller than the atom. Now I'm not an expert so I have no idea if you could use these particles to build anything. I only know what I learned in chemistry. :p


RE: Just a question...
By garbageacc3 on 1/22/09, Rating: -1
RE: Just a question...
By Azured on 1/22/2009 8:35:15 PM , Rating: 2
Although Neutrons are not stable (they decay under Beta- to a proton and an electron (and an antineutrino)) protons are infact stable (atleast the lower boundary for the half-life of protons is in the order of 10^35 yrs).
If you go back far enough in the life of the universe, you would find it so hot that ordinary atoms simply cannot exist, go back even further and protons/neutrons would not exist either, just their quarks would roam free. As the universe expanded (and consequentially cooled) it became energetically advantageous for the quarks to "get together" and form neutrons/protons and later for the neutrons/protons to form atoms.
The heavier atoms were created in fusion processes in stars such as the Sun, where lighter atoms would fuse to to form a single atom of a larger mass.


RE: Just a question...
By JediJeb on 1/23/2009 10:27:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you go back far enough in the life of the universe, you would find it so hot that ordinary atoms simply cannot exist, go back even further and protons/neutrons would not exist either, just their quarks would roam free.


What is there if you go back even farther?


RE: Just a question...
By Chocobollz on 1/25/2009 2:56:53 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
What is there if you go back even farther?

There's no universe...


RE: Just a question...
By MadMan007 on 1/22/09, Rating: 0
RE: Just a question...
By MrPoletski on 1/23/2009 8:54:43 AM , Rating: 2
well ionized hydrogen is a lone proton so go figure:)

The problem, when you get down to this scale, of talking about getting things smaller is that you start getting into the realm of objects not actually having a defined edge or position.

In everyday life, we define the 'edge' of an object as where you stop being the object and start being it's surroundings. At the subatomic level there is no such thing. We can only see the edge because it either blocks light or we can't physically force anything any further without incurring a reactionary force from the object whos edges we are defining.

an electron, for example, has mass, yes. But how do you determine where the electron finishes and empty space begins? every single way you have of interacting with that electron will be affected by your distance from its centre. You obviously can't just take a ruler to it, or see how it blocks light. As far as seeing how far you can force another object towards the electron before it reacts.. well it will start reacting long before you actually reach it because of electric fields and such.

There was talk of the electron being a point particle, not sure how much water to hold in that tho.


RE: Just a question...
By MadMan007 on 1/22/2009 10:18:17 PM , Rating: 2
Answer: Olga Sherer.


RE: Just a question...
By neo64 on 1/23/2009 5:44:09 AM , Rating: 2
a bunch of sophisticated replies and still im guessing he didnt understand anything.

an atom is the smallest thing you can have at a macro level (ie our visible/tangible world) true there are other particles which make up the atom, which have already been mentioned, but of these only a proton and an electron together can be stable enough to exist.
in this configuration you'd then get a hydrogen atom, which leads me to answer your question:

if you want to get smaller than a single carbon atom, you have to change completely the atom in favor for a smaller one, eg Hydrogen (but then as a consequence your new atom might not have the properties desired etc)


Diamonds
By elessar1 on 1/22/2009 2:43:21 PM , Rating: 1
Plus, a CPU made of graphene could be use to write a letter of complaint to the fabricant once its burned...




RE: Diamonds
By PhoenixKnight on 1/22/09, Rating: -1
RE: Diamonds
By PedroDaGr8 on 1/22/2009 4:18:33 PM , Rating: 4
Umm, he not THAT wrong. Graphite is simply stacked sheets of graphene.


RE: Diamonds
By MrPoletski on 1/23/2009 8:45:04 AM , Rating: 2
well he was making a joke, but I'd have a hard time graphite as stacked sheets of graphene.

Otherwise you could just put graphite through a molecular bacon slicer to get graphene. Graphite has a hexagonal crystal structure, so it would be erroneous to refer to it as a stacked layer of single atom sheets. It's a 3 dimensional structure.

Well, at least it wouldn't be any less accurate to say the same thing about diamond.


RE: Diamonds
By FITCamaro on 1/22/09, Rating: 0
Interesting
By Shig on 1/22/2009 3:25:18 PM , Rating: 3
The most interesting part about this is how many things we are going to discover in the future of nano-tech just by running high end computer simulations on the best super computers. Simulation really is the next evolution of science.

IBM is also working on graphene transistors. http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?...

http://www.engadget.com/2008/12/19/ibm-claims-titl...

I also believe graphite / graphene is more abundant than even silicon, so it would probably end up being cheaper as well.




RE: Interesting
By teldar on 1/22/2009 3:44:55 PM , Rating: 2
Except for the cost of making it in the first place. It doesn't sound like the manufacturing of graphene is exactly the easiest thing in the world right now. I wouldn't expect it to get easy or cheap any time soon.


new technology & basic components
By neofox on 1/23/2009 9:41:26 AM , Rating: 2
Its pretty funny seeing that now we are able to discover that almost all basic components can be used to create sophisticated things, or better give us the answer to understand how things work.

Arh gotta Pupuu wont tell' ya the discovers soon :p




Some sort of Carbon Silicon
By Jellodyne on 1/22/2009 2:55:49 PM , Rating: 1
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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