Graphene manufactured for the first time on the meter scale. End of silicon?
Graphene has been considered for years as a natural substitute for silicon in the creation of electronic components because of its high conductivity. It is estimated that only with this new material will we be able to have real and smaller powerful quantum computers. Therefore, the results of the project led by professors Feng Ding and Rodney Ruoff, from the Institute of Basic Sciences of South Korea, were greeted with surprising enthusiasm.
With the help of their project colleagues, they were able to create contiguous graphene crystals 5 centimeters wide and 50 centimeters long. These are the largest perfect crystals ever created based on this material. Before that, the best marks were only millimeters without losing much of their alignment. The crystals made by the cited design are practically perfect, with an alignment of 99.9%, another goal never reached on a large scale.
Best of all this is that the manufacture of these crystals is simple and fast using the method discovered by the dual teachers. Essentially, they created a perfect copper plate that served as the basis for the graphene crystal. By placing the material on the heated copper at 1030° C, the carbon atoms (which form the graphene) align perfectly following the pattern of the copper atoms below.
This means that the molecular constitution of carbon served as a template for graphene to organize itself and present a rate of perfection or purity unimaginable. The entire procedure has an estimated duration of 20 minutes, and an industrial process can reduce that time even more.
The size of the copper plate was the only limitation found. However, Ding and Ruoff wrote in an article that it is not possible to find the piece with the necessary quality in the market.
“The key to getting a contiguous graphene crystal in large proportions is to have a perfect copper crystal to use as a base. However, these perfect copper plates in large sizes are not available in the market, so laboratories need to manufacture this through their means,” Ding said.
There is not yet an expectation to apply these large crystals in the electronics industry, but when this procedure is adopted, we will have a major computational revolution in our hands, both regarding processing speed and energy consumption.