Posted January. 16, 2009 01:48,
A Korean team has developed for the first time in the world technology for mass producing graphene, a material expected to replace silicon in semiconductor production.
Researchers had obtained only a small amount of graphene, which consist of carbon atoms densely packed in a honeycomb crystal lattice, by abrading graphite with cellophane tape.
With the discovery, scientists can conduct research with graphene hundreds to thousands of times bigger than normal.
The research team was led by Hong Byeong-hee and Kim Geun-soo, professors at the Advanced Institute of Nanotechnology at Sungkyunkwan University, and Choi Jae-yeong at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology.
They said yesterday they succeeded in mass producing graphene by forming carbon membranes on a nickel sheet.
Recognizing its importance, the international weekly Nature carried the breakthrough in its Web edition yesterday.
Electrons move 100 times faster in graphene than in silicon, the main material for memory chips, and 100 times more electric currents run through graphene than copper. Since its electric property remains the same even while folded and bent, graphene can be used for electronic paper or flexible display panels.
The magazine Technology Review published by Massachusetts Institute of Technology listed graphene among the top 10 emerging technologies last year.
The team also released a graphene wafer 10 centimeters in diameter, indicating the impending commercialization of graphene products. Until now, researchers had to use graphene a few millimeters wide peeled off with cellophane tape.
The discovery is also being hailed as the result of perfect industry-academia collaboration.
Philip Kim of Columbia University, an authority on this subject, took part in the research as a co-author.