The ebook FEEE - Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering and Electronics is based on material originally written by T.R. Kuphaldt and various co-authors. For more information please read the copyright pages.

Graphene Transistor

Graphite, an allotrope of carbon, does not have the rigid interlocking crystalline structure of diamond. None the less, it has a crystalline structure-- one atom thick, a so called two-dimensional structure. A graphite is a three-dimensional crystal. However, it cleaves into thin sheets. Experimenters, taking this to the extreme, produce micron sized specks as thin as a single atom known as graphene. (Figure 3436 (a)) These membranes have unique electronic properties. Highly conductive, conduction is by either electrons or holes, without doping of any kind.

Graphene sheets may be cut into transistor structures by lithographic techniques. The transistors bear some resemblance to a MOSFET. A gate capacitively coupled to a graphene channel controls conduction.

As silicon transistors scale to smaller sizes, leakage increases along with power dissipation. And they get smaller every couple of years. Graphene transistors dissipate little power. And, they switch at high speed. Graphene might be a replacement for silicon someday.

Graphene can be fashioned into devices as small as sixty atoms wide. Graphene quantum dots within a transistor this small serve as single electron transistors. Previous single electron transistors fashioned from either superconductors or conventional semiconductors operate near absolute zero. Graphene single electron transistors uniquely function at room temperature.

Graphene transistors are laboratory curiosities at this time. If they are to go into production two decades from now, graphene wafers must be produced. The first step, production of graphene by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) has been accomplished on an experimental scale. Though, no wafers are available to date.

Figure 3436: (a) Graphene: A single sheet of the graphite allotrope of carbon. The atoms are arranged in a hexagonal pattern with a carbon at each intersection. (b) Carbon nanotube: A rolled-up sheet of graphene.

Last Update: 2010-11-19