Graphene, a single honeycomb layer of carbon, is the building block of graphite, nanotubes, and buckyballs.
Recent experiments at the synchrotron using angle-resolved photoemission demonstrated that is it possible to use a bilayer of graphene as a switch: current flows when the switch is closed (bilayers electronically close together), and does not flow when the switch is open (bilayers electronically separated).
SWITCH CLOSED: CONDUCTION (Unbiased)
SWITCH OPEN: NO CONDUCTION (Biased)
This proves it is possible to build and control an electronic switch as small as two atoms, paving the way for computers at least 100 times smaller than current technology allows.
Looking up the periodic table: Germanium to Silicon to Carbon
The original transitor - Germanium
The current technology: Si transistors
The next step: carbon switches?
REFERENCE: Science, 313, Aug (2006)
WORK SUPPORTED BY:
DOE, the Max Planck
Society, and the European Science Foundation