Scientists using lasers at a
The team has tested the behaviour of bilayer graphene to discover whether or not it could be used as a semiconductor. Their results suggest that it could replace silicon transistors in electronic circuits.
In its current form graphene is not suitable for transistors, which are the foundation of all modern electronics. For a transistor to be technologically viable, it must be able to 'switch off' so that only a small electric current flows through its gate when in standby state.
The research team, led by Professor
Using Artemis at STFC's Central Laser Facility, which is based at the
A second short, extreme ultraviolet, wavelength pulse then ejected electrons from the sample. These were collected and analysed to provide a snapshot of the energies and movement of the electrons.
"We took a series of these measurements, varying the time delay between the infrared laser pump and extreme ultraviolet probe, and sequenced them into a movie," said STFC's Dr Cephise Cacho, one of the research team. "To see how the fast-moving electrons behave, each frame of the movie has to be separated by just a fraction of a billionth of a second."
Professor Hofmann said, "What we've shown with this research is that our sample behaves as a semiconductor, and isn't short-circuited by defects."
There can be imperfections in bilayer graphene as the layers sometimes become misaligned.
The results of this research, in which the graphene showed no defects, suggest that further technological effort should be carried out to minimise imperfections. Once this is done, there is a chance that the switch-off performance of bilayer graphene can be boosted enough to challenge silicon-based devices.
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