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New transistor design uses metal-semiconductor junction to preserve nanolayer's high electron mobility

Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930), a South Korean firm perhaps best known for its smartphones and memory sticks, is among the companies racing to create transistors from graphene.  Graphene is a very special type of carbon, in which carbon atoms are sp2-bonded in repeating hexagonal units forming a one-atom thick sheet.

Graphene is highly conductive, which could lead to super-efficient transistors measuring just a few atoms wide.  But to create reliable, commercializable designs, researchers must find a way to get graphene to do a better job at shutting off current (as the transistor key function is to act as a switchable gate to the flow of electricity).  "Plain" graphene can not shut off current due to its semi-metallic nature.

Past-research has largely focused on making graphene into a semiconductor.  But that approach creates new issues, cutting the electron mobility from 200 times that of silicon, to much less than silicon -- a performance killer.

Companies are racing to implement graphene transistors. [Image Source: i09]

The Samsung design instead opts to use a special graphene-silicon Schottky barrier to halt the flow of electricity.  A Schottky barrier allows for a metal-semiconductor (or semi-metal-semiconductor) junction.  By keeping the graphene semi-metallic, the strong electron mobility is preserved.

Samsung calls its special graphene Shottky transistors "barristors" (a blend of "barrier" and "transistor").  It owns 9 patents on the technology.

Samsung transistor
Samsung calls its special graphen transistor a "barristor". [Image Source: Samsung]

On the recent refinements, published [abstract] in the prestigious Science journal, researchers at Samsung's Advanced Institute of Technology demoed basic processing.  The company writes:

In addition, to expand the research into the possibility of logic device applications, the most basic logic gate (inverter) and logic circuits (half-adder) were fabricated, and basic operation (adding) was demonstrated.

Now with the fundamentals in place Samsung must come up with the processes to mass-produce its barristors on the nanometer scale.  If it can do that, it could offer a unique advantage to its smartphones and to business partners like Apple, Inc. (AAPL) that rely on its chips.

Of course, other companies like Intel Corp. (INTC) and International Business Machines, Inc. (IBM) are also hotly pursuing graphene designs, so it's unlikely Samsung will be alone when this technology inally reaches the commercial stage.

Sources: Samsung, Science

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Apple have a patent on that.
By blue_urban_sky on 5/18/2012 5:37:39 PM , Rating: 2
oh no they don't.

good to see progress that is not just the way a menu bounces...

RE: Apple have a patent on that.
By Nyu on 5/18/2012 9:06:44 PM , Rating: 3
Apple is all bs, they don't create anything, but rely instead on companies like Samsung who actually put the resources and intelligent engineers to design the hardware and electronic/technological breakthroughs the rest of the industry is leeching, like Apple cockroaches and similar.

Thumbs up for Samsung, they are the real innovators in this whole industry actually creating things.

RE: Apple have a patent on that.
By mevans336 on 5/19/12, Rating: 0
RE: Apple have a patent on that.
By Zingam on 5/19/2012 12:18:01 PM , Rating: 2
A gazillion indie devs who are breaking sweat to bring all these Angry Birds and shits on the latest iDevice?

RE: Apple have a patent on that.
By TakinYourPoints on 5/19/2012 3:25:21 AM , Rating: 2
They're great at component research but their product design is absolutely directionless, it is why they spend their whole time copying other companies, not just Apple. On the topic of smartphones, they were sued by RIM re: the Blackjack years before the iPhone was released, and it goes even further outside of that.

Component manufacturing, great, but their products division is led by designers with a Xerox machine.

RE: Apple have a patent on that.
By Mint on 5/20/2012 10:12:49 AM , Rating: 1
No design? I suppose that's why they're they're the #1 smartphone maker in the world and far and away the leader in a sea of Android competitors?

I suppose lack of design and direction is what made them come up with the Galaxy Note, the most innovative smartphone since the original iPhone? One that should have been an unmitigated disaster if we were to believe Jobs' opinion of the stylus?

Or are you talking purely about aesthetics? There's a point where aesthetics don't make much difference anymore, and you can be sure that their "products division" isn't led by something so superficial. Samsung makes products that people want, rather than telling them what they want.

By TakinYourPoints on 5/20/2012 5:26:52 PM , Rating: 2
Aesthetics clearly do matter. I'd argue that copying Apple is one of the reasons why Samsung has been doing so well. HTC, Nokia, and Motorola have done with their own very good designs, but they also haven't been selling well. Meanwhile Samsung has done this and succeeded:

Samsung recently announced that they'll be putting up retails stores. The design: glass cubes.

Tell Samsung that aesthetics don't matter, they obviously matter a lot to them, their strategy revolves around shamelessly carbon copying what they like from other companies (this time its Apple). Why create their own product designs when they can just copy the best? It is clearly a very profitable strategy.

RE: Apple have a patent on that.
By TakinYourPoints on 5/20/12, Rating: 0
RE: Apple have a patent on that.
By Reclaimer77 on 5/21/12, Rating: 0
By TakinYourPoints on 5/21/2012 5:40:50 AM , Rating: 2
What Apple does is show simple functionality in understated ads. Not hype, just features and function.

What Samsung does is have a big musical number in street with a man shooting out of a cannon.

Hype and total BS marketing that does not focus on the product in any meaningful way. If you can't recognize that then you're being willfully ignorant.

What you're bringing up otherwise is a different discussion that is beside the point. But if you want to go there, yeah, Siri is one feature that is exclusive to the 4S.

Why pray tell though are complete ICS upgrades even more scarce? There are no technical reasons why a handset from 2009 can't run it, let alone a Samsung phone from less than a year ago, yet ICS still has only about a 5% install rate despite being out for over half a year. You can bet that the majority are on new devices.

It is a huge reason why carriers and hardware companies hype up their new Android phones, why support old ones when the most sure way to get an ICS update (outside of a Nexus or rooting it yourself) is to make obnoxious commercials shilling new hardware? Shameful.

RE: Apple have a patent on that.
By TakinYourPoints on 5/21/2012 5:49:44 AM , Rating: 2
Apple convinces people to upgrade to an entire new phone just to run Siri software, and you're taking issue with the Samsung Note? Love your pro-Apple bias and what you consider to be "hype".

To be 1000% clear, shooting people out of cannons while people dance in the streets to The Darkness is the definition of hype. Who needs to focus on the product when there are so many distractions!

Focusing solely on the product and practical functionality is definitively not hype. Something like an iPad commercial shows normal people using numerous applications in home and office settings. A Xoom ad shows some dude piloting a mech:

Surely you can tell the difference. Be objective for once.

RE: Apple have a patent on that.
By Mint on 5/22/2012 1:12:21 PM , Rating: 2
You're asking him to be objective when you're cherry-picking one Samsung superbowl ad?

Their other more widely played ad was voted most effective in the quarter:
Another features based commercial:
And another:
And another:
And another:

RE: Apple have a patent on that.
By Mint on 5/21/2012 6:47:19 AM , Rating: 2
LOL you think the Note sold on hype? Samsung's marketing can't hold a candle to Apple's. It was panned as a failure before it even arrived due to its size (4/10 from Wired, 2.5/5 from Gizmodo). Don't you remember how the Streak became a joke? The Note only got positive reviews well after launch, when people started using it.

Samsung is the only company to realize that it wasn't the size that killed the Streak, it was the low-res screen and the lack of a stylus. Jobs was wrong about the latter, and here's why:
There are solid scientific reasons that touch won't ever replace the stylus input paradigm.

I'm an engineer. I write/solve equations on scrap paper all the time. Many other professionals benefit from some sort of doodle or another. My second language doesn't use a Latin alphabet, so a pen is so much better for communication and learning. Ever tried to use remote desktop on a mobile device with your fingers? Even on a tablet, much less a 3-4" phone, it's really tedious compared to what you can do with stylus.

It's not for everyone, but it still is far and away the biggest innovation in smartphones since the iPhone first appeared (which, by the way, didn't sell as many in its first year as the Note will).

I guarantee you that Apple is pissed that they didn't think of it first. The creative potential is perfectly aligned with Apple's brand image, and it would have sold 2-3x as many as Samsung did.

RE: Apple have a patent on that.
By TakinYourPoints on 5/21/2012 7:05:08 AM , Rating: 2
LOL you think the Note sold on hype?

Samsung tried to sell the Note on hype, absolutely. Instead of focusing on the product they made obnoxious ads that did anything but focus on the product.

Compare those with the understated and practical ads Apple have been doing for the last few years and yeah, hype in advertising between the two aren't even close.

And I'm certain that Apple is fine with the stylus. They prototyped tablets for almost a decade before releasing the iPad. The iPhone was actually the result of that R&D, they just shrunk it and threw in a cell antenna. You can be sure that a stylus was a part of those experiments. How could it not be a part of their R&D, the stylus was the dominant form of tablet input since the Newton way back in the 90s and Palm Pilots after. Apple did the stylus way back in 1993, such innovation from Samsung to use one in 2012!

RE: Apple have a patent on that.
By Mint on 5/21/2012 9:41:56 AM , Rating: 2
If you're going to defend Apple as innovative, then you're going to have a hard time doing so by defining innovation by who comes up with an idea first.

The iPhone wasn't innovative for having the first touch screen, inventing multitouch, inventing the smartphone, etc. It's innovative because it put everything together at a time when the industry was heading in a different direction.

The Note is innovative in the same way. Jobs declared the stylus obsolete, and everyone followed. Samsung bucked the trend. The stylus is going to play a bigger role as apps get more complex and capable. I won't be surprised if I see a full-fledged copy of Win8 running on smartphones in a year capable of running any desktop app. Same thing with the display size, as the obvious intuition is that it's too big. They saw a new usage model and went after that market.

Apple probably skipped the stylus because they profit from a new marketplace of touch-based apps where iOS is dominant. They could have easily included a stylus in the iPad for flexibility while keeping touch the priority, but they want to force people away from it. The base of x86 apps is still the biggest threat to the long term future of the iPad (and even the iPhone), and it's a much smaller threat when people aren't used to the stylus (which is needed to replace the mouse required to use those apps as is).

RE: Apple have a patent on that.
By TakinYourPoints on 5/21/2012 4:59:05 PM , Rating: 2
They skipped the stylus simple because people don't like using them. Give someone the choice between a skinny little stylus or their finger, most will pick using their finger. What average person wants to fiddle with a stylus? Who even likes using a Wacom tablet on a desktop compared to a mouse?

Stylus are the domain of artists and not much else.

RE: Apple have a patent on that.
By Mint on 5/22/2012 12:56:34 PM , Rating: 2
You're making a strawman argument with that artificial choice.

Give a person a choice between touch-only and touch+stylus, and they'll choose the latter. Nobody wants to write with their finger when jotting notes, symbols, figures, etc. Nobody wants to repeatedly pinch zoom in, touch, and pinch zoom out when doing more complex tasks instead of simply tapping. Nobody wants their finger blocking their view when selecting ranges/groups or doing other fine control.

Touch-only is superior to stylus-only. It is not, however, superior to touch+stylus. Anyone who uses a pen on paper instead of finger doodling (i.e. everyone) will find use for a stylus as the smartphone becomes more powerful. Read that link.

Wacom tablets? Tablets and smartphones don't have a mouse, genius. The entire premise for their existence is to be as portable and self-contained as possible.

You're lacking the vision that your favorite company is famous for. You can't take functional notes in class with only a keypad, unless all your classes are strictly text only. Same thing in board meetings. Styli on tablets and smartphones are critical for the transition to a paperless society, which has numerous convenience and organizational benefits. I predict that within 3 years, virtually every tablet and many high-end smartphones will have a stylus.

RE: Apple have a patent on that.
By Mint on 5/21/2012 11:31:29 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, and regarding advertising, I recall you saying this:
What Apple does is show simple functionality in understated ads. Not hype, just features and function.
This features and function ad got a lot more airtime than the superbowl ad you're whining about.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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