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FEATURE ARTICLE

Graphene in High-Frequency Electronics

This two-dimensional form of carbon has properties not seen in any other substance

Keith A. Jenkins

New Applications?

What if we can extend the electrical performance of graphene a bit more so it becomes as good as silicon, or even a little better? Then how might it be used? One interesting possibility is to combine graphene circuits with some other technology, such as conventional semiconductor circuitry, to exploit the best of each. A layer of graphene circuits might be placed on a patterned semiconductor wafer. The graphene layer can be used for analog and RF circuits, while the semiconductor part can be used for digital processing of the RF signals. A hybrid technology like this seems feasible now that we are able to transfer a single layer of CVD-grown graphene onto any substrate, including one that has been processed to contain circuits.

Looking further, we are considering some other attractive graphene properties. It is almost transparent, it absorbs light, it is flexible and strong and it works over a wide temperature range. Circuits made from graphene might be used for invisible electronics, such as on windows or glasses; for flexible circuits, for example, sewn into clothing; or for circuits to be used in extreme temperature environments, such as space and underground exploration. Although separate electronics may already exist for these situations, perhaps only graphene can be of use in these circumstances with the extra advantage of very high-frequency operation.

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