PRLog - March 11, 2014 - IRVINE, Calif. -- Researchers claim that graphene can actually revolutionize the semiconductor devices and electronics industry, but is it really feasible that silicon which has ruled this industry for decades can now be completely replaced by graphene?
Silicon and graphene are completely different in their structures. While Silicon has a travelency, which can form covalent bonds with 4 other atoms, graphene has carbon atoms bonded through sp2 bonds in a hexagonal pattern. Silicon a semiconductor has a forbidden gap between the valence and the conduction layer but graphene is almost a conductor since it has no gap in its structure. This is one such property which stops graphene from completely replacing silicon. In the computer CPUs graphene cannot be used since it can never be switched off. Silicon conducts only when the temperature rises above a certain level but graphene conducts at all temperatures. Hence graphene cannot be used to replace Silicon in the CPU chips at least now in this research stage.
But graphene has certain advantages over silicon. Graphene will reduce the average working temperature of the electronic devices by at least 13oC. Moreover the performance of silicon is affected by temperature, light and addition of other atoms but graphene gives the same efficiency under all conditions. It is the hardest and the best conductor of electricity ever known. If Graphene is used commercially in place of Silicon it will give us cheap and efficient electronic devices.
Silicon has a 3D structure while graphene has a unique 2D structure hence graphene can give us cell phones as thin as a tissue paper. Future cell phones may not be manufactured but just printed. This is the potential power of this allotrope of carbon---graphene.
But one important point that should be kept in mind is that graphene is just in its research stage. This very fact that graphene is now in its research state, hinders its use on a large scale in the industry. Since the technology, machinery and know-how is all based on the semiconductor Silicon, so to introduce graphene in place of Silicon will need a huge replacement of machinery which will cost an enormous amount. However the technology to actually harness and process graphene into commercial products will take at least 5 decades to develop.
Thus it is evident that graphene can completely revolutionize the industry and serves to be a better semiconductor than silicon yet we cannot utilize it commercially since it is not produced in large scale at present and we lack the technology to convert it into commercial products. But we hope to completely harness this enormous potential of graphene in the near future to come.
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