New Type of Graphene Could Increase Processor Clock Speeds

(May 19, 2016) Recently, scientists from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), the Institute of Physics and Technology RAS, and Tohoku University (Japan), have developed a new type of graphene-based transistor, whose modeling demonstrates that it has ultralow power consumption compared with other similar transistor devices.

The newly proposed design was for a tunnel transistor based on bilayer graphene, “two sheets of graphene attached to one another with ordinary covalent bonds,” explained Dimitry Svintsov, the head of MIPT’s Laboratory of Optoelectronics and Two-Dimensional Materials. “At a lower power, electronic components heat up less, and that means that they are able to operate at a higher clock speed—not one gigahertz, but 10 for example, or even 100.”

According to, “Energy level bands of bilayer graphene take the shape of a “Mexican hat”. It turns out that the density of electrons that can occupy spaces close to the edges of the “Mexican hat” tends toward infinity—this is called a van Hove singularity. With the application of even a very small voltage to the gate of a transistor, a huge number of electrons at the edges of the “Mexican hat” begin to tunnel at the same time. This causes a sharp change in current from the application of a small voltage, and this low voltage is the reason for the record low power consumption.”

“This means that the transistor requires less energy for switching, chips will require less energy, less heat will be generated, less powerful cooling systems will be needed, and clock speeds can be increased without the worry that the excess heat will destroy the chip,” Svintsov confirmed.

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