Grant Supports Graphene Transistors

October 12, 2008

SEAS's Electrical Engineering Professors Tony Heinz, David M. Rickey Professor of Optical Communications and Professor of Physics,and Ken Shepard and Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor James Hone are working with Department of Physics Professor Philip Kim and Department of Chemistry Professor Colin Nuckolls under a $4 million grant to develop field-effect transistors using graphene. This research, sponsored by DARPA, is part of a five-year, $15 million grant to IBM as the prime contractor; the University of Texas at Austin is the third research participant. This grant leverages some of the pioneering research of Professor Kim on the basic physics of graphene.

"We will be exploring the use of graphene as a new channel material for field-effect transistors," says Ken Shepard, Columbia's Principal Investigator on the grant, "We will see if graphene transistors will be able to deliver on promised advantages over III-V and silicon semiconductor technologies. We are delighted to be working with IBM on this effort."

Graphene is a two-dimensional sheet of carbon, a single layer of graphite atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. The graphene crystal structure gives the electrons and holes in this material unique electronic properties, including the ability to more very "fast" in the presence of electric field, a property which will be exploited in these new field-effect devices.

Recent research by SEAS professors Hone and Jeffrey Kysar have shown that graphene is the strongest material ever measured and holds great promise for the development of nano-scale devices.