Samsung Researchers Inch Closer to Commercial Graphene Transistors
May 18, 2012 3:22 PM
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New transistor design uses metal-semiconductor junction to preserve nanolayer's high electron mobility
Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
), a South Korean firm perhaps best known for
, 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
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 calls its special graphen transistor a "barristor". [Image Source: Samsung]
On the recent refinements,
[abstract] in the prestigious
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. (
) that rely on its chips.
Of course, other companies like Intel Corp. (
) and International Business Machines, Inc. (
) are also hotly pursuing graphene designs, so it's unlikely Samsung will be alone when this technology inally reaches the commercial stage.
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RE: Apple have a patent on that.
5/22/2012 1:12:21 PM
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:
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner
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