Big Blue claims 100GHz for non-silicon transistor

A transistor made of an atom-thick layer of carbon atoms promises frequencies of 100 billion cycles per second – that’s 100GHz.

The demonstration device is part of the Carbon Electronics for RF Applications (CERA) programme, funded by DARPA and aimed at developing faster communication devices in the future.

The technology uses graphene, carbon atoms bonded in a honeycomb arrangement and a two dimensional form of carbon with, IBM says, unique electrical, optical, mechanical and thermal properties.

IBM created the graphene wafers by using a silicon carbide substrate, with the transistor using a metal top gate architecture and a gate insulator stack using a polymer and a high dielectric constant oxide. The gate length is only 240 nanometers, leaving plenty of opportunity to shrink the gate in the future.

IBM claims that the frequency performance of the graphene device exceeds the cut off frequency of silicon transistors of the same gate length.