Faster, Cleaner Graphene Electronics Production

Achievement date: 
2014
Outcome/accomplishment: 

Researchers at the NSF-funded Nanosystems Engineering Research Center (NERC) for Nanomanufacturing Systems for Mobile Computing and Mobile Energy Technologies (NASCENT), headquartered at the University of Texas at Austin, have successfully demonstrated the dry transfer of graphene from copper to silicon.

Impact/benefits: 

Graphene has traditionally been grown on substrates like copper and chemically transferred to silicon wafers using solvents and surfactants. The dry transfer method demonstrated in this work is much faster and has far less impact on the environment.

Explanation/Background: 

The superior electronic properties of graphene have made it a very attractive material for the next generation of microprocessors, batteries, and other electronic components. Graphene is intended to replace traditional circuitry and must be transferred to silicon precisely and accurately to function properly.

The greatest challenge in dry transfer has been fragmentation. Often, the graphene grains transferred to the silicon are too small and sparse to be used for electronic applications. The NASCENT team showed that larger grains suitable for electronic devices can be transferred by pulling it away steadily with a semi-cured silicon epoxy.