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Realization of the Thinnest Integrated Circuit Component on Earth

A Logic Inverter with Graphene Atomic Layer

National Institute for Materials Science

Researchers at the National Institute for Materials Science demonstrated an integrated circuit fundamental component with graphene, a high electrical conductivity and the thinnest atomic film material on earth.

Abstract

  1. Researchers at the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS; President: Sukekatsu Ushioda) demonstrated an integrated circuit fundamental component with graphene, a high electrical conductivity and the thinnest atomic film material on earth. Corresponding logic operations were also shown.
  2. In previous related researches, a maximum voltage gain, which is an important device parameter and defined as ratio of output voltage to input voltage, of 0.044 was reported. In this work, the NIMS researchers achieved a remarkable improvement reaching around 7 for this parameter, or an enhancement of approximately 150 times.
  3. Theoretical predictions on the smallest feature size of microchips is less than 10nm. However, with the ongoing miniaturization of electronic microchips, it is argued that there are “limits to miniaturization”. For instance, a severe problem on current control will arise in conventional bulk semiconductor materials when the microchip feature size is too small. One possible solution to this problem is to use extremely thin conductive channels. Thus, the utilization of graphene attracts wide attention.
  4. As a novel technique developed by the NIMS researchers, a self-assembly extremely thin (nanometer scale) dielectric film was adopted to modulate device conductivity. This realizes an extremely high efficiency of input voltage to the graphene channels, and thus leads to a dramatic improvement in device switching characteristic in comparison with previous devices. In addition, the NIMS researchers also obtaining large output voltage amplitude to match that of the operating voltage, indicating a possible of direct cascade between the graphene inverters.
  5. It had been argued that the high conductivity of graphene was, conversely, a major problem for application to logic devices. The present research shows that reasonable good results can still be achieved by device configuration optimization. This may accelerate the development of research on graphene devices in future.
  6. These results were obtained by a group of researchers headed by Dr. Kazuhito Tsukagoshi, who is a Principal Investigator in the NIMS World Premier International (WPI) Research Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA), Dr. Songlin Li, also of MANA, and Associate Professor Akinobu Kanda of the Graduate School of Pure and Applied Sciences, University of Tsukuba.
  7. This research was published online by Nano Letters (the American Chemical Society) on June 2 (local time).


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