Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

Manish Chhowalla, a materials-science and engineering professor at Rutgers University, has made one-to-two-nanometer-thick films with this method. He uses vapors of a chemical called hydrazine to remove the oxygen groups from the deposited film. The films, made of slightly overlapping graphene pieces, are a few centimeters wide.

Yang points out that the quality of the sheets made so far has not been very good. Because the graphene sheets are deposited on a substrate first, many oxygen groups get trapped between the sheets and the substrate underneath and are not removed. “These are detrimental to electrical properties,” he says.

Yang and his colleagues have simplified the method. They dissolve graphite oxide pieces in pure hydrazine. This splits apart the individual graphene sheets and gets rid of nearly all the oxygen groups in a single step. The researchers then deposit the pieces on a silicon wafer. They could also deposit the flakes on flexible surfaces. “The main contribution is that they’ve figured out a better way of [removing oxygen groups],” Chhowalla says.

The researchers uniformly cover large areas of silicon wafers about 1.5 centimeters in length and width with graphene sheets. Then they deposit gold electrodes on top of the flakes to make field-effect transistors.

The researchers are working to further improve the quality of the graphene sheets. Pure, flat graphene sheets have a thickness of 0.34 nanometers. The 0.6-nanometer thickness of the sheets that the researchers make implies that a few oxygen groups remain stuck to the graphene. “So it still might not be as good as the graphene you want, but it’s getting close,” Tour says. “It’s certainly good enough for lots of devices.”

Researchers now need to refine the process so that they can cover even larger areas with single graphene sheets, Tour adds. That would be key for practically using graphene in electronic devices. “What you want to be able to do is cover a whole 12-inch wafer with graphene cleanly,” he says. “The Intels won’t touch it until you can do that.”

3 comments. Share your thoughts »

Credit: Yang Yang Laboratory, UCLA

Tagged: Computing, Materials, silicon, graphene, material

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me