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Will graphene based spinFET break through the CMOS wall?

Graphene has been regarded as a wonder material since Manchester University academics Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov managed to create thin sheets of the 2D allotrope of carbon using adhesive tape. Since then, it seems to have been de rigeur to use graphene for as many applications as possible.

One of the first ideas for graphene was that it might supersede silicon as the progress of Moore’s Law runs out of steam. But the problem there was graphene’s lack of a band gap – and no band gap means it can’t act as a semiconductor.

Now, work at Chalmers University in Sweden could have solved the problem. By combining graphene with molybdenum disulphide – another 2D material generating much interest – the team has created a graphene-based spin FET operating at room temperature.

It’s generally accepted that CMOS will hit the wall in the next couple of years. Spintronics – the technique of controlling electronic functions using the spin of an electron – has long been seen as the future for the electronics industry. Could it be that we are seeing the first attempt to break through the CMOS wall?

Graham Pitcher

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