Silicene and Graphexeter

Monday 30th April 2012
Graphexeter and Silecene &

Silicene has emerged from the joint research of TU Berlin with Aix-Marseille University, where an earlier attempt in 2010 failed. The material predicted as a holy grail for the silicon chip interface industry, has some way to go still to reach the UK development of Graphexeter.

Patrick Vogt of Berlin's Technical University, Germany, and colleagues at Aix-Marseille University in France have created silicene by condensing silicon vapour onto a silver plate to form a single layer of atoms. They then measured the optical, chemical and electronic properties of the layer, showing it closely matched those predicted by theory

The research, published in Physical Review Letters DOI:  is thought to have yielded a material that could integrate more easily into current silicon chip production scenarios, but the major issue to be overcome is to grow the silicone on an insulating substrate to learn more about its electrical properties and how to exploit them in devices.

(Right : Drs Saverio Russo & Monica Craciun. Courtesy  Physics Org News )

Indium tin oxide (ITO) is used as a coating on most touch screens because of its electrical conductivity, optical transparency, and ease of deposition onto a display as a thin film.

But using graphene, University of Exeter researchers have developed a viable alternative to expensive ITO that they claim is a “transparent, lightweight and flexible material for conducting electricity.”

With indium supplies expected to run out in the decade and ITO layers fragile and lacking flexibility graphexeter developed at Exeter's Centre for Graphene Science set about solving graphene's sheet resistance that limits conductivity.

The researchers used a layer of ferric chloride molecules between two sheets of graphene to enhance the graphene’s electrical conductivity, without affecting its transparency.

“GraphExeter could revolutionise the electronics industry. It outperforms any other carbon-based transparent conductor used in electronics and could be used for a range of applications, from solar panels to ‘smart’ t-shirts,” says lead researcher, Dr Monica Craciun.

The research team is now working on developing a spray-on version of the material for use in such applications.

The paper detailing GraphExeter appears in  Advance Material

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