How Nanoelectronics Research Relates to Computers

When thinking of nanoelectronics, the first item that often comes to mind is transistors. The study of electronic components using nanoelectronics is also linked to the advancing technology of computers. For example, research is showing that grapheme has great potential for usage in high-performance electronic devices. The material was the focus of the Nobel Prize in physics in 2010.

Grapheme is an extremely thin material that is an allotrope of carbon. The uber-thin carbon layers are arranged in a lattice similar to chicken wire. At times the layers are only one atom thick, and the material conducts electricity with little to no resistance and only a minute amount of heat generation. It consumes less power than silicone. Thanks to its high optical transparency and electrical conductivity, grapheme is ideal for gadgets which utilize transparent conducting electrodes such as liquid crystal displays and touch screens.

Researchers have been avidly marking the growth of grapheme. It can be grown on large wafers and can be patterned for usage in electronics manufacturing. Some researchers have shown that it is possible to make flat grapheme ribbons by unzipping carbon nanotubes. Because of this, grapheme can be produced in varying widths.

You might ask why nanoelectronic researchers are spending so much energy researching grapheme when silicone works fine in computer hardware gadgets. The truth of the matter is that with the advancement of technology, electronic devices are getting smaller, and silicon is running out of room to miniaturize. It is constricted by resistance to electron flow, and that causes an increase in heat and consumption of power. Grapheme doesn’t have these constrictions.

Nanoelectronics researchers continue to experiment with grapheme. One of the most serious limitations at this point is the inability to grow it at a rapid rate. Scientists continue to explore different options for growth.