Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers find better way to manufacture fast computer chips

02.04.2009
Engineers at Ohio State University are developing a technique for mass producing computer chips made from the same material found in pencils.

Experts believe that graphene -- the sheet-like form of carbon found in graphite pencils -- holds the key to smaller, faster electronics. It might also deliver quantum mechanical effects that could enable new kinds of electronics.

Until now, most researchers could only create tiny graphene devices one at a time, and only on traditional silicon oxide substrates. They couldn’t control where they placed the devices on the substrate, and had to connect them to other electronics one at a time for testing.

In a paper published in the March 26 issue of the journal Advanced Materials, Nitin Padture and his colleagues describe a technique for stamping many graphene sheets onto a substrate at once, in precise locations.

“We designed the technique to mesh with standard chip-making practices,” said Padture, College of Engineering Distinguished Professor in Materials Science and Engineering.

“Graphene has huge potential -- it’s been dubbed ‘the new silicon,’” said Padture, who is also director of Ohio State’s Center for Emergent Materials. “But there hasn’t been a good process for high-throughput manufacturing it into chips. The industry has several decades of chip-making technology that we can tap into, if only we could create millions of these graphene structures in precise patterns on predetermined locations, repeatedly. This result is a proof-of-concept that we should be able to do just that.”

Graphene is made of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal pattern resembling chicken wire. In graphite, many flat graphene sheets are stacked together.

“When you write with a pencil, you leave graphene sheets behind on the paper,” Padture said. Each sheet is so thin -- a few tenths of a nanometer (billionths of a meter) -- that researchers think of it as a two-dimensional crystal.

Researchers have shown that a single sheet, or even a few sheets, of graphene can exhibit special properties. One such property is very high mobility, in which electrons can pass through it very quickly -- a good characteristic for fast electronics. Another is magnetism: magnetic fields could be used to control the spin of graphene electrons, which would enable spin-based electronics, also called spintronics.

Yet another characteristic is how dramatically graphene’s properties change when it touches other materials. That makes it a good candidate material for chemical sensors.

In this method, Padture and his Ohio State colleagues carved graphite into different shapes -- a field of microscopic pillars, for example -- and then stamped the shapes onto silicon oxide surfaces.

“Think of a stack of graphene sheets in graphite as a deck of cards. When you bring it contact with the silicon oxide and pull it away, you can ‘split the deck’ near the point of contact, leaving some layers of graphene behind. What we found through computer simulations was that the graphene surface interacts so strongly with the silicon oxide surface that the chemical bonds between the graphene layers weaken, and the lower layers split off,” Padture said.

In this first series of experiments, the Ohio State researchers were able to stamp high-definition features that were ten layers thick, or thicker. The graphite stamp can then be used repeatedly on other predetermined locations on the same or other substrates, making this a mass-production method, potentially.

They used three different kinds of microscopes -- a scanning electron microscope, optical microscope, and atomic force microscope -- to measure the heights of the features, and assure that they were placed precisely on the substrate.

They eventually hope to stamp narrow features that are only one or two layers thick, by stamping on materials other than silicon oxide.

In computer simulations, they found that each material interacts differently with the graphene. So success might rely on finding just the right combination of substrate materials to coax the graphene to break off in one or two layers. This would also tailor the properties of the graphene.

Padture’s co-authors on the paper include Dongsheng Li, a postdoctoral researcher, and Wolfgang Windl, associate professor of materials science and engineering.

This work was partially funded by the Center for Emergent Materials at Ohio State, which is a Materials Research Science & Engineering Center (MRSEC) sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The $17-million center is one of only 27 MRSECs (http://www.mrsec.org) around the country, and its main research focus is magnetoelectronics. Partial funding was also provided by Ohio State’s Institute for Materials Research.

Contact: Nitin Padture, (614) 247-8114; Padture.1@osu.edu
Written by Pam Frost Gorder, (614) 292-9475; Gorder.1@osu.edu

Nitin Padture | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osu.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Move over, Superman! NIST method sees through concrete to detect early-stage corrosion
27.04.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Control of molecular motion by metal-plated 3-D printed plastic pieces
27.04.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>