For the past 40 years, silicon-based electronics has followed Moore's law, which predicts doubling of transistor density every two years. These sustained advances have provided ever increasing processing capabilities for both information and consumer electronics. However, as device features approach the 10-nm-length scale, conventional silicon electronics will face both technological and fundamental challenges, such as short-channel effects, parasitic resistance and capacitance, and power management issues. Similarly, optoelectronic applications have been dominated by III-V semiconductors for the past several decades, but the complex growth and fabrication techniques for these materials are not well suited for the rapidly growing field of printed electronics. Thus, alternative device geometries and new classes of nanomaterials (e.g., graphene and carbon nanotubes) are being considered for next-generation electronic and optoelectronic applications.
Graphene, which is a monolayer of sp2-bonded carbon atoms arranged in a 2D honeycomb lattice, has been studied theoretically since the late 1940s, but it was not demonstrated experimentally until 2004 when Novoselov and Geim produced "few-layer graphite" via mechanical exfoliation. In the following years, other growth methods, such as epitaxial growth and chemical vapor deposition, were developed that produce larger films of graphene. Additionally, solution-based synthesis techniques emerged as a means of producing graphene in a low-cost and scalable manner. With the availability of single-layer graphene samples, a wide breadth of research has been conducted on this unique 2D material. These studies have shown that graphene has many exceptional properties, such as high carrier mobility, which make it interesting for fundamental studies and promising for electronics and optoelectronics.
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