We recently reported on Samsung’s impressive breakthrough that will allow modern chips built using the company’s newly-baptized barristor to reach 300 GHz to 1 THz working frequencies.
We also underlined that working on a combination of silicon and graphene such as silicene will most likely yield unsatisfactory results.
While silicene seemed much closer to the market than a pure graphene chip, technologies that combine graphene and other materials were deemed less desirable than a pure grapheme implementation because of the fact that graphene’s main incentive was lost.
Trying to transform a semimetal like graphene into a semiconductor will most likely lead to a considerable loss in electron mobility, and it’s that electron mobility scientists find so precious at graphene.
Graphene has an electron mobility 200 to 300 times greater than silicon. When combining it with other materials, this value is lowered to around 1.5 to 3 times the characteristic silicon electron mobility.
Researchers from Penn State University have managed to grow a very thin layer of graphene on a layer of hexagonal boron nitride (hBN).
The graphene is only three atoms thick, while hexagonal boron nitride is almost a hundred times thicker.
Even if we disregard the costs of implementing and mastering such a technology, the fact that the electron mobility is only 2 to 3 times greater than with silicon makes it seem much less desirable than Samsung’s graphene barristor.
The only other advantage is the fact that this graphene and hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) combination has been applied on a traditional transistor design rather than on a new microelectronic component such as the barristor.