Dr Ponomarenko shows his research sample: graphene quantum dots on a chip. Image: University of Manchester.
April 21, 2008 In recent decades, manufacturers have crammed more and more components onto integrated circuits, roughly keeping pace with Moore’s Law. But for this to continue the semiconductor industry must overcome the poor stability of materials if shaped in elements smaller than 10 nanometres in size. At this spatial scale, all semiconductors, including silicon, oxidize, decompose and uncontrollably migrate along surfaces like water droplets on a hot plate. Now researchers at the University of Manchester, reporting their peer-reviewed findings in the latest issue of Science, have shown that it is possible to carve out nanometre-scale transistors from a single graphene crystal. Unlike all other known materials, graphene remains highly stable and conductive even when it is cut into devices one nanometre wide.