For years, the two-dimensional material, graphene, has shown promise in making electronics smaller and more efficient. Now scientists have designed a graphene-based transistor that works with ultra-low power consumption and which could ultimately be used to increase the clock speed of processors up to a staggering 100 GHz.
Traditional transistors allow electrons, triggered by a power source, to jump through an energy barrier to change the current on the other side. They work fine, but we can’t really get them to be much more energy efficient than they currently are.
Enter tunnel transistors. Operating on less power than standard transistors, these allow electrons to pass through the energy barrier by quantum-tunneling – effectively, they “teleport” through the energy barrier. The problem with these so far is that the current coming through to the other side is too small to be practical.
Now, scientists at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) have found a way to use graphene to increase the tunneling current. Graphene is essentially a two-dimensional construct, made up of a sheet of carbon only one atom thick, and at that size it has some unusual electronic properties.
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