Frank Schwierz on the Potential of Graphene Devices for Electronics

Emerging Research Fronts Commentary, December 2011

Frank Schwierz

Article: Graphene transistors


Authors: Schwierz, F

Journal: NAT NANOTECHNOL, 5 (7): 487-496, JUL 2010

Addresses: Tech Univ Ilmenau, Postfach 100565, D-98694 Ilmenau, Germany.
Tech Univ Ilmenau, D-98694 Ilmenau, Germany.

Frank Schwierz talks with ScienceWatch.com and answers a few questions about this month's Emerging Research Front paper in the field of Materials Science.


SW: Why do you think your paper is highly cited?

One reason is certainly that the paper has been published in a high-impact journal. Another reason might be that when writing the paper I could call on my experiences from three decades of research on novel electronic devices. This put me in the position to carefully select the material and to focus on those issues that are really relevant for the use of a novel material in electronics.

What are the key developments that your review paper covers?

Since 2004 graphene has attracted outstanding attention. What I tried to do in the paper was to assess the potential of this new material and to discuss the prospects of graphene devices in electronics as realistically as possible. This led to a less enthusiastic assessment compared to the large body of graphene papers.

"... the device community is desperately searching for entirely new devices and material concepts to continue the successful evolution of electronics, even if the scaling of silicon devices will come to an end."

SW: Would you summarize the significance of your paper in layman's terms?

Today's electronics are based on the semiconducting material silicon. For decades the progress in electronics mainly originated from the ability to shrink the size of silicon transistors (i.e., to scale the transistors) and to put more and more transistors onto a single tiny silicon chip. Meanwhile, however, the limits of scaling are in sight and a slowdown of the progress in electronics is looming on the horizon. Therefore the device community is desperately searching for entirely new devices and material concepts to continue the successful evolution of electronics, even if the scaling of silicon devices will come to an end.

The new material graphene that consists of a single layer of carbon atoms is one of these new materials. Indeed, graphene possesses properties that can be extremely useful for electronic applications, and these properties are discussed in many papers. However, experiences from research as well as from our daily life tell us that nothing is perfect and that everything has its merits AND its drawbacks, and this is also true for graphene. In my paper, I discussed both the merits and the problems of graphene with regard to electronics.

SW: How did you become involved in this research, and how would you describe the particular challenges, setbacks, and successes that you've encountered along the way?

During my whole career in research I have been interested in new and exotic materials and in their prospects in electronics. During the 1980s, when I was a Ph.D. student, I dealt with gallium arsenide, while during the 1990s my interest was focused on a compound of silicon and germanium called SiGe. Later I was working on silicon carbide, gallium nitride, and indium nitride, and when graphene appeared I could not resist and I started investigating the prospects of graphene for electronic applications.

SW: Where do you see your research leading in the future?

This is really hard to foresee. Time will tell.End

PD Dr. habil. Frank Schwierz
Technische Universität Ilmenau
Fakultät für Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik
Fachgebiet Festkörperelektronik
Ilmenau, Germany

KEYWORDS: GRAPHENE TRANSISTORS, FIELD-EFFECT TRANSISTORS, EPITAXIAL GRAPHENE, CARBON NANOTUBE, BILAYER GRAPHENE, ROOM TEMPERATURE, INDUCED BANDGAP, LAYER GRAPHENE, LARGE AREA, PERFORMANCE, FILMS.

 
 

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