Graphene - a clean, safe future alternative to silicon in CPUs - has been used to make a transistor which runs at a whopping 300GHz.
It seems to be the week for age-old game-changers to dust off their research and hit the headlines again: as well as HP announcing a deal with Hynix
to bring the long-awaited
memristor to market, scientists have announced the development of an ultra-fast graphene transistor.
Graphene, a form of carbon in the shape of a honeycomb lattice, first came to our attention as a future replacement for silicon in processors back in 2007 following research by Princeton University
and then promptly disappeared, as do so many other "killer" technologies that are trumpeted by universities.
Scientists aren't willing to let go of graphene that easily though: according to an article on IEEE Spectrum
, a team at the University of California at Los Angeles has created a nanowire-based graphene transistor that operates at speeds silicon-based equivalents just can't touch: 300GHz.
Such performance is around twice as fast as that achievable from equivalent silicon-based transistors, and similar to what can be achieved with those made from expensive and dangerous materials such as gallium arsenide. Better still, the technology shouldn't cost more to produce than existing silicon-based transistors .
With the technology believed to scale into terahertz, graphene could be the new silicon - but a single transistor does not a CPU make. It's clear that teams working on graphene technology have a long way to go before we start enjoying the benefits in our PCs.
Are you pleased to see that graphene research hasn't hit a dead end yet, or will you only get excited when Intel, AMD, or ARM announce their first 1THz graphene-based chips? Share your thoughts over in the forums