A graphene transistor is a nanoscale device based on graphene, a component of graphite with electronic properties far superior to those of silicon. The device is a single-electron transistor, which means that a single electron passes through it at any one time.
A research team led by Professor Andre Geim of the Manchester Centre for Mesoscience and Nanotechnology built a graphene transistor and described it in the March 2007 issue of Nature magazine.
Features of the graphene transistor include:
- the ability to operate at room temperature.
- a size one atom by 10 atoms wide.
- extreme sensitivity.
- the ability to operate with the application of very low voltages.
These qualities mean that graphene-based processors could be a fast, low-power successor to silicon-based processors and enable advances in microchip technology beyond the capabilities of those using silicon as their semiconductor material. Electrons can move through graphene at speeds ten to one thousand times greater than silicon. Furthermore, unlike silicon, graphene's properties actually improve as the devices become smaller. That capacity, coupled with the ability to operate at room temperature, could allow more miniaturization which would, in turn, allow more components to be placed on an integrated circuit (IC).
Scientists have predicted that graphene transistors could scale to transistor channels as small as two nanometers (nm) with terahertz speeds.