Carbon-based material could enable smarter electronics

Wednesday, 04 August, 2021

Carbon-based material could enable smarter electronics

As silicon-based technology reaches its absolute limits, a carbon-based material engineered by University of Queensland (UQ) researchers could herald the next generation of electronics with more memory, faster speeds and advanced features.

“Graphene has long been considered a promising material for use in electronics, with its high mechanical strength and electrical and thermal conductivity, but it has limitations,” said Professor Debra Bernhardt from UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) and School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences (SCMB).

“The research team engineered a material with nitrogen atoms included in two layers of honeycomb-patterned graphene, then experimented with shifting and twisting the layers.

“This material — C3N bilayers — has the potential to expand the capabilities of nanoscale electronics, which enables more functionality in a smaller area.

“Changes in the alignment of the layers can result in the ability to tailor the flow of electricity for various devices, which is not possible with just graphene.”

Prof Bernhardt said the new structures enabled production of various electronic components that can be combined to produce electronics with requirements and capabilities as diverse as refrigerators and smart watches.

“This is exciting because it combines theoretical predictions and experimental research to develop new devices that could be used in many applications, such as computer memory and flexible electronics,” Prof Bernhardt said, with other potential applications including telecommunications, automatic access systems and medical equipment.

It has been claimed that the material could contribute to a growing nanoelectronics market predicted to be worth $162 billion by 2027. But while the UQ research (published in Nature Electronics) was described by Prof Bernhardt as a significant step, she said more work is needed to more readily produce the material at a reduced cost.

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