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Discoverers of graphene bring graphene-based electronics a step closer


July 25, 2011

Graphene is a one-atom-thick gauze of carbon atoms resembling chicken wire (Image: AlexanderAlUS via Wikipedia)

Graphene is a one-atom-thick gauze of carbon atoms resembling chicken wire (Image: AlexanderAlUS via Wikipedia)

The researchers who unveiled graphene in 2004 and who were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2010 for "groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material" have led new research that reveals more about the electronic properties of the wonder material. The team says their findings promise to accelerate research looking at ways to build graphene-based devices such as touch-screens, ultrafast transistors and photodetectors, and will potentially open up countless more electronic opportunities.

In studying the effect of interactions between electrons on the electronic properties of graphene, the researchers from the universities of Manchester, Madrid and Moscow, led by Professor Andre Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov, found that such interactions significantly enhance the already high velocity of electrons in graphene. They say the reason for such unique electronic properties is that electrons in graphene mimic massless relativistic particles, such as photons or neutrinos.

The team used extremely high-quality graphene devices, which were prepared by suspending sheets of graphene in a vacuum. This allowed them to eliminate most of the unwanted electron scattering mechanisms for electrons in the material, thus enhancing the effect of electron-on-electron interaction. They claim this is the first effect of its kind where the interactions between electrons in graphene could be clearly seen.

"Although the exciting physics which we have found in this particular experiment may have an immediate implementation in practical electronic devices, the further understanding of the electronic properties of this material will bring us a step closer to the development of graphene electronics," said Professor Novoselov.

The research team's findings appear in the journal Nature Physics.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Will this signal a return to vacuum tube electronics? I can just see us going back to computers the size of a closet! :)


Can the carbon coming our of smokestacks be used to produce graphene? It could be a way of sequestering carbon and making something useful and safer.

Carlos Grados
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