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Move Over, Silicon: Advances pave way for Powerful Carbon-based Electronics

SpecialChem / Jan 10, 2008

Practical technique shows promise of carbon material called graphene. By passing decades-old conventions in making computer chips, Princeton engineers developed a novel way to replace silicon with carbon on large surfaces, clearing the way for new generations of faster, more powerful cell phones, computers and other electronics. The electronics industry has pushed the capabilities of silicon - the material at the heart of all computer chips - to its limit, and one intriguing replacement has been carbon, said Stephen Chou, professor of electrical engineering. A material called graphene - a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice - could allow electronics to process information and produce radio transmissions 10 times better than silicon-based devices. Until now, however, switching from silicon to carbon has not been possible because technologists believed they needed graphene material in the same form as the silicon used to make chips: a single crystal of material eight or 12-inches wide.

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