IBM researchers have built the first integrated circuit based on graphene, a breakthrough the company says could herald a future based on graphene wafers instead of silicon. The circuit, a 10 gigahertz frequency mixer, could give wireless devices greater range. At higher frequencies, the technology could someday allow law enforcement and medical personnel to see inside objects or people without the harmful effects of X-rays, according to IBM.
The circuit was built on a silicon carbide wafer and consists of graphene field-effect transistors. Last year, the same IBM team demonstrated the first graphene-based transistor, capable of operating at 100 GHz, but this time they integrated it into a complete circuit.
The circuit is a broadband radio-frequency mixer, which, as IEEE Spectrum explains, is a crucial component of radios. It creates new radio signals by finding the sum and difference between two input frequencies. IBM's circuit performed frequency mixing up to 10 GHz, and worked well up to 257 degrees F. The research team believes it can get even faster — if so, chips like these could improve cell phone and transceiver signals, possibly allowing phones to work in spots where they currently can't receive service, the company says.
Several teams have been working on graphene transistors and receivers, but it has been difficult to marry the single-carbon-atom sheets to the metals and alloys used on chips. This circuit also uses aluminum, gold and palladium, for instance, which do not adhere well to graphene. What's more, graphene can be easily damaged in the etching process, as Yu-Ming Lin and colleagues at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center explain in a paper about the new circuit.
The team figured out a new process that clears those hurdles by growing graphene on the silicon face of the silicon-carbide wafer. Then they coated the graphene in a polymer, conducted the necessary etching, and removed the polymer using some acetone. The transistor gates are only 550 nanometers long, and the entire wafer is the size of a grain of salt, IBM says.
It will still be a while before graphene FET chips start taking over Silicon (Graphene?) Valley, however. The IBM team already has a few ideas for improving next-generation designs, including the use of different metals that don't degrade graphene's superb electrical conductivity.
The research is reported in today's issue of the journal Science.
Where does IBM get it's Graphene from? What are some public stock graphene producers?
Target. Need the Sunday coupons, though.
Graphene is possibly the best thing since sliced bread, but I'm not sure how a 10 GHz mixer would improve cell reception. Now if it's more efficient at cell phone frequencies, that would be significant.
Another report on this development mentioned that the development of an analog IC as the first project is not an accident. Graphene apparently has an issue -- devices don't turn completely off. This has apparently been a problem in developing digital devices. Probably solveable, but it's the first negative that I've ever read about the performance of graphene,
Graphene is an allotrope of carbon, whose structure is one-atom-thick planar sheets of sp2-bonded carbon atoms that are densely packed in a honeycomb crystal lattice. The term graphene was coined as a combination of graphite and the suffix -ene by Hanns-Peter Boehm, who described single-layer carbon foils in 1962. Graphene is most easily visualized as an atomic-scale chicken wire made of carbon atoms and their bonds. The crystalline or "flake" form of graphite consists of many graphene sheets stacked together.
I don't think it is produce in commercial quantities yet and it may be a decade or more before this research leads to large scale commercial applications
Graphene is extremely easy to produce. Scotch tape and graphite and you are already ready to go. Big thing though is transferring this technique to large scale production.
In reading articles by some futurists, graphene represents the next step in reaching true AI, cyborgs, and FTL travel. It's nice to read an article about companies actually attempting and achieving steps in the development of the new material.
"true AI, cyborgs, and FTL travel."
I dont know about all that.
I dont see how graphine will bend the fabric of space and time.
It has amazing proprieties. but so far they ALL fall into understood and explainable physics, such as its amazing tensile strength and molecular bond strength.
I dont see how a strong carbon bond is going to bend light or magigcly make a true AI. what exactly is true AI?
The more exciting stuff is water and air proofing at 1 atom thickness level. Think space suits that fit tighter than Jessica Ablas costume in Fanstic 4. No more bulky fingers. Ligheter aircraft, boats, space ships, etc.
Think nano machines.
if we ever have "true AI" it will probably be an organic dna bassed computer. basically a lab grown flesh and blood brain.
or possibly an organic/hardware hybrid brain, the best of both worlds?
"if we ever have "true AI" it will probably be an organic dna bassed computer. basically a lab grown flesh and blood brain."
That begs the question is a grown brain artificial or life?
If by true AI you mean a computer with general intelligence comparable in its flexibility to the human brain (but potentially a lot more capable), then graphene does not offer any advantages over silicon. You can create far more powerful computers with far greater efficiency than can be made today. But for human-type intelligence, you need a model that mimics that brain's parallel processing techniques. Nothing of the sort exists. Once the exact workings of the brain are understood (within the next 50 years, hopefully) then recreating it should not be very difficult, regardless of the materials used at the time.
yes!! now i can switch my brain to a body that can last for 10000000 years!!! reminds me of ghost in the shell. will the AI think itself as a living being with a soul? maybe turn against its masters and creators? cant wait!
@JediMindset yeah. its a nice idea. but even from watching Ghost in the Shell, people get hacked. the same would happen in our world. The REAL net is quickly turning into the trashy lawless net we see in so many cyberpunk films and books.
Ghost in the Shell and Nuromancer and Snowcrash are not far off anymore. "net cowboys" have become very much a reality.
Normal guys are cracking into billion dollar companies with ease.
I have loved computers since I was a kid... and I use them more and more every day. but as time goes on, I find myself retracting from the net more and more. I have closed my social network profiles. I do everything I can to stay anonymous now and hid my identity. not just for identify theft but for a growing number of reasons. many we have yet to see rear their ugly head. ]
for example I think its totally unecthical for jobs and bosses to try to look you up online. but you cant stop them. and you cant prove that they did.
They pay you for your time at work. There are exceptions (like a pedofile or herion addict), but everyone lives a private life out there that is private. and soical networks fall into the realm of PRIVATE (family and friends). and in reality everyone single American breaks the law if it not smoking weed, are you really telling me you have never gone over the speed limit or rolled through a stop sign.
The circuit is a broadband radio-frequency mixer, which, as IEEE Spectrum explains, is a crucial component of radios. It creates new radio signals by finding the sum and difference between two input frequencies. IBM’s circuit performed frequency mixing up to 10 GHz, and worked well up to 257 degrees F. The research team believes it can get even faster — if so, chips like these could improve cell phone and transceiver signals, possibly allowing phones to work in spots where they currently can’t receive service, the company says.
i agree. remaining anonymous is good nowadays. terrorism(patriot act) among other things gives the government the right to keep tabs on you. that plus the hackers. thats why i barely give out my real info on sites. and how easily it is to hack someone. for example, the hacking of the Psn network which shut them down for a month. and the psn store for 2 months. i even try to block my ip address sometimes. but that wont even help much.
This is Popular Science, so I do not blame the author for neglecting to take a realistic viewpoint on this type of news. These articles pop up, in a variety of emerging fields, all the time.
The original authors of the scientific paper did not write it for a general audience. they assumed that other professionals, most of whom actually work in the same field of science and thus know all about the "ins and outs" of working with graphene materials, are the people reading the paper.
the reason why there is a communications breakdown is this:
Graphene based technologies are hampered by 3 very big hurdles:
1) production/purification/shipping/packaging of graphene in some form (wafer, solvent solution, whatever) in high yield, with high degrees of regularity, and with high "degree of reaction" (a term from polymer science, which means the "size" of the graphene sheet).
we need to produce large quantities of LARGE sheets of graphene, that are all perfectly crystalline, and be able to do this cheaply and reproducibly and QUICKLY.
currently there is no technology that offers anything like this. Those Ph.D. students, post docs, and industry researchers who work with graphene spend MUCH of their time actually making a single sheet that will work for their purposes. They do not work bottles or commercially prepared samples. They MUST make it themselves.
2) While news like this is encouraging, graphene is NOT like silicon. it is not like germanium. in fact, it is NOT a semiconductor!!!! That means you cannot use it directly in a semiconductor based device (like a graphene "MOSFET") because the physics of the material is different. We literally need to "relearn" how to make devices out of graphene. It is no wonder that pretty much every single example of graphene based devices WERE THE SAME TYPE OF ELECTRONIC DEVICE. That specific device architecture is one of the few examples where graphene can be used without incident. we (the scientific community at large) do know know how to make a "graphene equivalent" of the Intel chip in your computer. We will literally have to FIGURE IT OUT before you will see this stuff in day to day life.
also keep in mind, it took about 50 years to get to where we are with silicon based semiconductors. And even though that 50 years involved slower progress because the tools were less advanced and the science was not as well understood, we DID have incredibly cheap access to abundant quantities of silicon, dopants, and other materials and methodologies needed to make these semiconductor based materials en mass and simply test a million different chips to find the best ones. That is obviously a simplified and naive way of looking at the industry research methods... but the point is this: because (by 1) above) graphene is not easy to produce, not easy to "isolate" and ship/package, and not easy to USE once you have it, it will slow down our ability to develop new technologies, even if we have powerful electron microscopes, AFMs, STMs, supercomputer clusters needed to model the physics, etc.
3)the semiconductor and microelectronics industry as whole has sunk (literally) tens of TRILLIONS of dollars into infrastructure and investments related to a "silicon infrastructure." Big multi-billion dollar factors are scattered all over Asia. 99% of the small semiconductor facilities in the Silicon Valley are equipped with big expensive machines that are used to work with semiconductor materials like Silicon and Germanium (as well as a host of other materials and mixtures)
Let us imagine for a second, that immediately right this second, all of the hurdles associated with graphene are solved. Someone discovers a method of creating graphene cheaply and easily. someone develops a theoretical model used to design devices based on graphene. All the other smaller hurdles not mentioned here are solved.
We still face an ECONOMIC juggernaut in the form of trillions of dollars worth of investment, starting from the diversion of petrochemicals (the feedstock for graphene is stuff like ethylene and acetylene, let alone straight up alkanes like the stuff in diesel fuel), construction of big purification and synthesis facilities (the equivalent to what is used to make boules of silicon), to the actual lithography facilities (the hundreds of individual billion dollar factories all over china, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, etc). most of the machinery and techniques that are used for silicon would need to be retrofitted or replaced in order to use graphene in any large extent. Even if you COULD somehow "easily modify" the existing fabrication lines, it would take years and years to get it done.
we are not close. We are who are in our 20s will be middle aged or older before we can buy a desktop or a laptop with a graphene based chip, a graphene based screen, and graphene based ICs on our motherboard.