Saturday, April 30, 2011

No. 271: NEC develops the fundamental technology for graphene (April 30, 2011)

NEC and National Institute for Materials Science jointly developed the fundamental technology to produce the semiconductor material called graphene that has been increasing the presence as a new nanotechnology material lately. The new technology makes it possible to create this ultrathin carbon sheet that weighs as light as an atom on various heat resistant materials. Graphene is strong and highly flexible with small electric resistance. It can apply electric current 10-100 times faster than silicone used for semiconductor chips and hopefully achieve miniaturization required by semiconductor that grows higher in performance every year. The newly developed approach is to heat up liquefied metallic gallium to 1,000 degrees centigrade and dissolve a small amount of carbon that is the raw material of graphene. Subsequently, cool down the resultant product on the substrate to separate out graphene. The research team successfully synthesized graphene on such materials excellent in heat resistance as sapphire, glass, and silicon carbide. Until now, graphene can be synthesized only on such specific materials as copper foil, and it is necessary to peel off the ultrathin film and paste it on the target substrate. The new technology has opened up the possibility of mass producing graphene chips and covering various materials with graphene.

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