Moores law just keeps rolling on … Graphene is the new platform

Moores law is not an actual law, it is instead the well known observation, made by Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore in 1965, that the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit will double approximately every two years.

In fact, when he first made this observation, he was simply predicting the rate of progress over a ten year period, yet here we are over half a century later and its still true. Can we possibly sustain this progress,or are we finally reaching the end of this explosive rate of growth.  We are just about now reaching the physical limits of what can be done with silicon, so perhaps that’s it then, the end of the road? Nope, there is now a new material, Graphine (thats the stuff that won a couple of smart folks the 2010 Nobel Physics prize). And now, as an update, PHYSORG.Com has an article about how Graphine is the new game in town …

Move over silicon. There’s a new electronic material in town, and it goes fast. That material, the focus of the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics, is graphene — a fancy name for extremely thin layers of ordinary carbon atoms arranged in a “chicken-wire” lattice. These layers, sometimes just a single atom thick, conduct electricity with virtually no resistance, very little heat generation — and less power consumption than silicon.

With silicon device fabrication approaching its physical limits, many researchers believe graphene can provide a new platform material that would allow the semiconductor industry to continue its march toward ever-smaller and faster electronic devices — progress described in Moore’s Law. Though graphene will likely never replace silicon for everyday electronic applications, it could take over as the material of choice for high-performance devices.

And graphene could ultimately spawn a new generation of devices designed to take advantage of its unique properties.
A new electronics material is needed because silicon is running out of miniaturization room.

“Primarily, we’ve gotten the speed increases from silicon by continually shrinking feature sizes and improving interconnect technology,” said Dennis Hess, director of the National Science Foundation-sponsored Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) established at Georgia Tech to study future electronic materials, starting with epitaxial graphene. “We are at the point where in less than 10 years, we won’t be able to shrink feature sizes any farther because of the physics of the device operation. That means we will either have to change the type of device we make, or change the electronic material we use.”

It’s a matter of physics. At the very small size scales needed to create ever more dense device arrays, silicon generates too much resistance to electron flow, creating more heat than can be dissipated and consuming too much power.

Graphene has no such restrictions, and in fact, can provide electron mobility as much as 100 times better than silicon. De Heer believes his group has developed the roadmap for the future of high-performance electronics — and that it is paved with epitaxial graphene.

“We have basically developed a whole scheme for making electronics out of graphene,” he said. “We have set down what we believe will be the ground rules for how that will work, and we have the key patents in place.”

“We’re not trying to do something cheaper or better; we’re going to do things that can’t be done at all with silicon,”

The above is only an extract, its a long article. You can read it all here. Meanwhile, it looks as if Moores law still has some steam in it yet.

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