hbn structure Graphene + hBN may replace silicon in eletronic circuits in the future

The word “silicon” has always been synonymous with electronics, but perhaps there is a material that can replace silicon once it’s at its limit.  Researchers from Penn State have been working on developing and mass producing a combination of graphene and hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) that might replace silicon in the future.

The word “silicon” has always been synonymous with electronics, but perhaps there is a material that can replace silicon once it’s at its limit.  Researchers from Penn State have been working on developing and mass producing a combination of graphene and hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) that might replace silicon in the future.

hbn structure Graphene + hBN may replace silicon in eletronic circuits in the future

According to phys.org, the Penn State group has successfully developed a method that takes a thin layer of graphene that’s only one or two atoms thick and slapping it on top of a layer of hBN that’s also one to a few hundred atoms thick.  The graphene and hBN bilayer can then be turned into a transistor that is applicable in high frequency electronic and optoelectronic devices.

graphene sheet Graphene + hBN may replace silicon in eletronic circuits in the future

(Structural interpretation of graphene)

The Penn State group claims that they “have been able to take this material (graphene + hBN) and apply to make transistors at a wafer scale.”  Similar projects have been conducted by other researchers in the past, but it is not until recently that the Penn State researchers have been able to produce the graphene + hBN material on a larger scale.   

To make the graphene + hBN larger scale, Penn State researchers had to find ways to make graphene and hBN “stick” to each other.  The process begins by producing a large-area and uniform layer of epitaxial graphene.  Next, researchers had to “smoothen and flatten” the graphene layer by attaching hydrogen atoms to it.  The hBN, grown on a transition metal, were then allowed to attach to the graphene. 

However, the integration of graphene + hBN into current industrial standards of circuitry may require more research.  The conducive/electronic performance of graphene + hBN is reported to be 2-3 times better than current silicon, and the Penn State researchers hope that they can develop and demonstrate the integration of graphene + hBN into industrial standard circuits in the near future.