Graphene's potential was recognized earlier this month when those who first studied it in the labwon the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. But researchers are just beginning to figure out how to take advantage of the novel carbon material in electronic devices.
Triple transistor: Single graphene transistors like this one can be made
to operate in three modes and perform functions that usually require
multiple transistors in a circuit. |
Credit: Alexander Balandin
Researchers have already made blisteringly fast graphene transistors. Now they've used graphene to make a transistor that can be switched between three different modes of operation, which in conventional circuits must be performed by three separate transistors. These configurable transistors could lead to more compact chips for sending and receiving wireless signals.
Chips that use fewer transistors while maintaining all the same functions could be less expensive, use less energy, and free up room inside portable electronics like smart phones, where space is tight. The new graphene transistor is an analog device, of the type that's used for wireless communications in Bluetooth headsets and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags.