In a previous posts on Graphene, I stated that we were making numerous advances — so many that it sometimes seemed like new ones were coming almost every day.
Well, here’s a brief update which covers some of the advances towards graphene electronics that have occurred since my previous article.
"In the issue of Nature published on July 22, 2010, scientists led by Roman Fasel, Senior Scientist at Empa and Professor for Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Bern, and Klaus Müllen, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, describe a simple surface-based chemical method for creating such narrow ribbons without the need for cutting, in a bottom-up approach, i.e. from the basic building blocks. To achieve this, they spread specifically designed halogen-substituted monomers on gold and silver surfaces under ultrahigh vacuum conditions. These are linked to form polyphenylene chains in a first reaction step.
"In a second reaction step, initiated by slightly higher heating, hydrogen atoms are removed and the chains interconnected to form a planar, aromatic graphene system. This results in graphene ribbons of the thickness of a single atom that are one nanometre wide and up to 50 nm in length. The graphene ribbons are thus so narrow that they exhibit an electronic band gap and therefore, as is the case with silicon, possess switching properties – a first and important step for the shift from silicon microelectronics to graphene nanoelectronics. And if this wasn’t enough, graphene ribbons with different spatial structures (either straight lines or with zig-zag shapes) are created, depending on which molecular monomers the scientists used."
Yes, you read that right, 1 nanometer wide ribbons. Just perfect for the creation of nanoscale electronic circuits. And, in case you aren’t an electronics tech like me, that phrase "band gap" means that it can be used to create transistors, the main component in creating a computer processor.
Then there’s this other PHYSORG report:
"Researchers at Stanford University have successfully developed brand new concept of organic lighting-emitting diodes (OLEDs) with a few nanometer of graphene as transparent conductor. This paved the way for inexpensive mass production of OLEDs on large-area low-cost flexible plastic substrate, which could be rolled up like wallpaper and virtually applied to anywhere you want.
"Due to its superb image quality, low power consumption and ultra-thin device structure, OLED has been developed for more than 20 years, and recently finds its application in ultra-thin televisions and other display screens such as those on digital cameras and mobile phones. OLEDs consist of active organic luminescent structure sandwiched between two electrodes, one of which must be transparent. Traditionally, indium tin oxide (ITO) is used in this type of devices. However, indium is rare, expensive and difficult to recycle. Scientists have been actively searching for an alternative candidate.
"The next generation of optoelectronic devices requires transparent conductive electrodes to be lightweight, flexible, cheap, environmental attractive, and compatible with large-scale manufacturing methods. Graphene, single layer of graphite, is becoming a very promising candidate due to its unique electrical and optical properties in last two years. Very recently, Junbo Wu et al., researchers at Stanford University, successfully demonstrated the application of graphene in OLEDs for the first time."
You think your current OLED display is thin, wait till they make it as thick as paper, and as flexible.
But that’s not all, because there is also this from Next Big Future:
"Researchers at Samsung and Sungkyunkwan University, in Korea, have produced a continuous layer of pure graphene the size of a large television, spooling it out through rollers on top of a flexible, see-through, 63-centimeter-wide (25 inch) polyester sheet.
:The team has already created a flexible touch screen by using the polymer-supported graphene to make the screen’s transparent electrodes. The material currently used to make transparent electronics, indium tin oxide, is expensive and brittle. Producing graphene on polyester sheets that bend is the first step to making transparent electronics that are stronger, cheaper, and more flexible. ‘You could theoretically roll up your iPhone and stick it behind your ear like a pencil,’ says Tour."
Yeah, you heard that right. An iPhone as thin as a sheet of paper, with the same touchscreen ability as the one you use now.
But there’s another thing to make note of here. That bit about a continuous sheet of pure graphene 25 inches wide.
A typical "wafer" of silicon is 300 millimeters wide, or approximately a foot in diameter. This typically will produce a few hundred "chips". Here we are talking about a SHEET 25 inches wide, which can be continuously rolled out.
Put those all together now, and add them to my previous post… and you begin to see where graphene is taking us.
And that is all in the course of a few months.