Figure 1 Man with Wafer
Penn State researchers have produced epitaxial graphene wafers (See Figure 1 to the Left) of 100mm diameter and have fabricated transistors using standard silicon-based fabrication techniques. 1 Because graphene is a two-dimensional array of tightly-bound carbons that are arranged in a flat hexagonal structure, the material has remarkable electronic materials properties including the potential to make transistors up to 200 times faster than it is possible for silicon. Currently such capability is the domain of compound semiconductor materials such as gallium arsenide (GaAs) gallium phosphide (GaP) and gallium nitride (GaN), etc. Graphene, a recently discovered form of carbon, is currently formed on single crystal silicon carbide (SiC) wafers. As such, grapheme offers the significant advantage of not requiring rare metals such as Ga and As to produce. The abatement of the biproducts from graphene processing is also significantly less costly and poses less environmental impact than traditional III-V materials. There is an abundant supply of Si and C; however, the only method of producing grapheme today is based on the technically challenging preparation of single crystal SiC wafers. Currently, the demonstrated electronic properties are far from their theoretical values; however, much progress can be expected in the foreseeable future.
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Penn State Synthesizes Graphene Wafer, A. Braun, Semiconductor International 3/11/2010