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Made in IBM Labs: IBM Scientists Demonstrate World's Fastest Graphene Transistor

Holds Promise for Improving Performance of Transistors

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. - 05 Feb 2010: In a just-published paper in the magazine Science, IBM (NYSE: IBM) researchers demonstrated a radio-frequency graphene transistor with the highest cut-off frequency achieved so far for any graphene device - 100 billion cycles/second (100 GigaHertz).

This accomplishment is a key milestone for the Carbon Electronics for RF Applications (CERA) program funded by DARPA, in an effort to develop next-generation communication devices.

The high frequency record was achieved using wafer-scale, epitaxially grown graphene using processing technology compatible to that used in advanced silicon device fabrication.

"A key advantage of graphene lies in the very high speeds in which electrons propagate, which is essential for achieving high-speed, high-performance next generation transistors," said Dr. T.C. Chen, vice president, Science and Technology, IBM Research. "The breakthrough we are announcing demonstrates clearly that graphene can be utilized to produce high performance devices and integrated circuits."

A Graphene Lattice

Graphene is a single atom-thick layer of carbon atoms bonded in a hexagonal honeycomb-like arrangement. This two-dimensional form of carbon has unique electrical, optical, mechanical and thermal properties and its technological applications are being explored intensely.

Uniform and high-quality graphene wafers were synthesized by thermal decomposition of a silicon carbide (SiC) substrate. The graphene transistor itself utilized a metal top-gate architecture and a novel gate insulator stack involving a polymer and a high dielectric constant oxide. The gate length was modest, 240 nanometers, leaving plenty of space for further optimization of its performance by scaling down the gate length.

It is noteworthy that the frequency performance of the graphene device already exceeds the cut-off frequency of state-of-the-art silicon transistors of the same gate length (~ 40 GigaHertz). Similar performance was obtained from devices based on graphene obtained from natural graphite, proving that high performance can be obtained from graphene of different origins. Previously, the team had demonstrated graphene transistors with a cut-off frequency of 26 GigaHertz using graphene flakes extracted from natural graphite.


I heard something similar in the news a few days ago. Researchers at Penn State University had found a way to create graphene wafers. Is this going to be the next step in computing? 

Super Dave

A CPU running at 26GHz + would be very nice, indeed![:D]

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If silicon can high ~40Ghz.....and we see about 10% of that performance in the real world. Since people pretty regularly and easily hit the 4Ghz mark.(I can boot and operate @4Ghz altho I haven't found the right recipe to keep it stable, 3.8 for now is golden though.)

Anyway back to my point... So they are hitting 100Ghz now... so if the math is the same we should be able to pretty easily see 10Ghz. It's a long shot from 100... but 2.5x as high as the current batch. I'll gladly take that :-)


Yeah acartz they also left considerable room for growth. Imagine the cut the size parameter by 20 percent thereby speeding up that operating frequency or parameter by 200 percent. That 10Ghz cpu would not be much of a stretch if any at all then.


Nice work - and judging from the MIT Technology Review article ( ), it shouldn't prove difficult to scale it up for industrial production. Let's see what happens....