Unless you are living in the caves, chances are pretty high that you have already heard about Graphene. Everyone seems to be in awe of this “thinnest and toughest material” ever produced. People are raving about its potential in fields ranging from computing to the creation of invisibility cloak.
So, let’s take a gander at Graphene, shall we?
The name graphene comes from graphite. Intelligent readers have already connected the dots and yes, graphene is indeed extracted from graphite. In fact, it is the fundamental building block of all other graphitic materials. Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov of Manchester Centre for Mesoscience and Nanotechnology, received Nobel prize in physics for their discovery of graphene in 2010.
Graphene is a sheet of carbon atoms bound together with double electron bonds (sp2 bond) in a thin film. It is an one-atom-thick highly conductive allotrope of carbon. An allotrope is a structurally different form of an element. Unlike isotopes, they are different forms of a compound rather than atom. Hexagonal form is deemed as the model structure, though heptagonal or pentagonal forms may arise due to imperfections.
Graphene exhibits unusually high electron mobility at room temperature. The mobility of holes and electrons are nearly the same. It is also independent of temperature between 10 K and 100 K. Graphene also has remarkable optical and magnetic attributes.
Since graphene is more effecient in heat dissipation, it may replace silicon as the primary semiconductor material in near future.
In next post, I’ll explore the wonderful world of graphene based transistors and ICs.