"That's really what they've nailed: controlling that last little bit of bonding to make one type of contact or another," Dr Ramasse told BBC News.
Scientists at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany together with a team from Swedish research institute Acreo AB, have successfully made a practical working semiconductor out of graphene. That’s important because silicon semiconductors have just about reached their physical in size reduction. To make faster chips, up until now it has all been about reducing the size and weight of silicon semiconductors. Because electrons move through graphene hundreds of times faster than through silicon, if graphene can successfully replace silicon in transistors, the same micro sized transistor can operate theoretically hundreds of time faster.
Dr. Quentin Ramasse, a leading UK expert on graphene research is suitably impressed:
"You read everywhere that graphene is magical for this reason and that, and it's good to be reminded that you can put it in real devices and make it scalable and actually use it for technological applications," he said. "That's a very good step forward."
Our new “Graphene Age” is speeding up.
Graphene transistors in high-performance demonstration
By Jason Palmer Science and technology reporter, BBC News 18 July 2012
The hope for the "miracle material" graphene to fulfil its promise in electronics has received a boost – by changing the recipe when cooking it.
Graphene, one-atom-thick sheets of carbon, can carry electric charges far faster than currently used materials.
But it has proven difficult to make it behave as a semiconductor like silicon, or to attach "contacts" to the sheets.
A study in Nature Communications solves those problems by cooking up graphene from a material called silicon carbide.
Since its discovery in 2004, graphene has been the focus of intense research efforts to exploit its phenomenal mechanical strength and its favourable electronic properties.
Because sheets of it are so thin and it conducts electric charges so well, it is already being used as a crystal-clear "electrode" for solar cells, and will soon find its way into consumer products including smartphones and televisions.
Towards wafer-size graphene layers by atmospheric pressure graphitization of silicon carbide
Friedrich-Alexander-Universitat Erlangen-Nurnberg (FAU)