Until now, copper has the base material of interconnects, but researchers have seen that graphene advances high-speed supercomputers as technology expands. In November 2018, researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara presented a paper on CMOS-compatible graphene interconnects. Following this work, a team of University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) engineering researchers recently came out with a method to utilize nanometer-scale doped multilayer graphene (DMG) interconnects well suited to the mass-production of integrated circuits.
For more than 20 years interconnects have been manufactured using copper as the base material, yet, the limitations of this metal when shrinking it to the nanoscale resistivity increase, which poses a “fundamental threat to the $500 billion semiconductor industry,” say researchers at UCSB. Graphene holds the potential to resolve this issue as a global desire for smarter, faster, lighter and affordable technology and devices continues to expand.
“As you reduce the dimensions of copper wires, their resistivity shoots up,” states Kaustav Banerjee, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Resistivity is a material property that is not supposed to change, but at the nanoscale, all properties change.
The UCSB team now believes it has found a promising method to use graphene for interconnects. However, it is not a case of simply replacing copper with graphene in the manufacturing process as research is still being carried out. Therefore, transposing the material from the university or other facility testing environments to high-volume production and wide-spread usage is yet another obstacle that must be overcome.
Professor Banerjee states that the only way the semiconductor industry will move forwards is when, “you find a way to synthesize graphene directly onto silicon wafers.” Issues arise back-end synthesizing after the transistors are fabricated – you face a thermal budget that can’t exceed a temperature of about 500 degrees Celsius. Read full article here.
The National Graphene Association is the main organization and body in the U.S. advocating and promoting the commercialization of graphene. NGA is focused on addressing critical issues such as policy and standards development that will result in effective integration of graphene and graphene-based materials globally. NGA brings together current and future graphene stakeholders — entrepreneurs, companies, researchers, developers and suppliers, investors, venture capitalists, and government agencies — to drive innovation, and to promote and facilitate the commercialization of graphene products and technologies. Join NGA here.
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