The consumer electronics market continues its push to make devices ever-smaller while also ever-more powerful. That goal is about to be helped along thanks to a breakthrough by a team of Japanese scientists, who have introduced the widest graphene nanoribbon ever produced. Its electrical properties far exceed those of silicon semiconductors and could lead to the next generation of miniaturized, superpowered electronics.
The team’s findings, recently published in Communications Materials, mark the first 17-carbon wide graphene nanoribbon with the smallest bandgap ever seen in graphene nanoribbons produced using the bottom-up method.
Large-scale integrated circuits (LSIs), which predominantly use silicon semiconductors, have been the standard for years in a wide range of electronic devices. However, the technology is thought to be reaching its limit of how much it can be shrunk down to size while maintaining ever higher levels of conductivity.
“Silicon semiconductors are giving us better performance at smaller sizes. However, we are reaching the limit in how small we can make devices. Thus, we have high expectations for the performance of graphene nanoribbons, which have semi-conducting properties that are only one atom thick — a 2D material,” says group leader Dr. Shintaro Sato, Fujitsu Ltd.
Using graphene in semiconductors could allow electronics manufacturers to continue offering smaller devices that are more powerful than their predecessors.