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Semiconductors Grown on Graphene Could Revolutionize Solar Power and Electronics


Graphene has been receiving a lot of worldwide attention, especially as a replacement for the rare and expensive silicon used in electronic devices today.

Work has also been done to use the material for flexible devices, such as touch screens and solar cells. Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology [NTNU] have patented and commercialized the production of semiconductor nano-wires grown on graphene sheets instead of silicon.

Professor Helge Weman, a professor at NTNU’s Department of Electronics and Telecommunications, and CTO and co-founder of CrayoNano AS, doesn’t see this as a new product, but simply a new production method for the development and manufacture of semi-conductor devices.

The new electrode is flexible, transparent, and expected to be inexpensive. It also is compatible current design and manufacturing processes, so implementing the new method could be easily achieved.

“Semiconductors grown on graphene could become the basis for new types of device systems, and could transform the semiconductor industry by introducing graphene as a preferred substrate for many applications,” Weman says. Any semi-conductor that exists today could be transformed by changing to the new graphene-substrate model, leading to developments such as flexible LED or photovoltaic cloth. Devices such as mobile- and smart-phones, and tablet- and laptop-computers, could benefit from tougher, graphene-based, touch-screens.

Modern electronics would also benefit. Because graphene-based semi-conductors are essentially one atomic-thickness plus microns of nano-wires, existing silicon-based integrated chips could be reduced dramatically in size and power requirements, increasing speed and power at the same time. Mobile devices could benefit by either reducing battery weight, or experience a dramatic increase in battery life.

[via eurekalert]

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