July 21, 2015

An Easy, Scalable and Direct Method for Synthesizing Graphene in Silicon Microelectronics

Korean researchers grow 4-inch diameter, high-quality, multi-layer graphene on desired silicon substrates, an important step for harnessing graphene in commercial silicon microelectronics

(July 21, 2015)  In the last decade, graphene has been intensively studied for its unique optical, mechanical, electrical and structural properties. The one-atom-thick carbon sheets could revolutionize the way electronic devices are manufactured and lead to faster transistors, cheaper solar cells, new types of sensors and more efficient bioelectric sensory devices. As a potential contact electrode and interconnection material, wafer-scale graphene could be an essential component in microelectronic circuits, but most graphene fabrication methods are not compatible with silicon microelectronics, thus blocking graphene's leap from potential wonder material to actual profit-maker.

Now researchers from Korea University, in Seoul, have developed an easy and microelectronics-compatible method to grow graphene and have successfully synthesized wafer-scale (four inches in diameter), high-quality, multi-layer graphene on silicon substrates. The method is based on an ion implantation technique, a process in which ions are accelerated under an electrical field and smashed into a semiconductor. The impacting ions change the physical, chemical or electrical properties of the semiconductor.

In a paper published this week in the journal Applied Physics Letters, from AIP Publishing, the researchers describe their work, which takes graphene a step closer to commercial applications in silicon microelectronics.

"For integrating graphene into advanced silicon microelectronics, large-area graphene free of wrinkles, tears and residues must be deposited on silicon wafers at low temperatures, which cannot be achieved with conventional graphene synthesis techniques as they often require high temperatures," said Jihyun Kim, the team leader and a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Korea University. "Our work shows that the carbon ion implantation technique has great potential for the direct synthesis of wafer-scale graphene for integrated circuit technologies."

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