While a typical semiconductor has millions of transistors connected by tiny copper wires, it’s the sheath that has given the Stanford scientists inspiration.
They said that tantalum nitride has been used to sheath the copper wires within chips.
But experiments show that if graphene is used as a sheath, electrons can fly through the copper wires faster.
The sheath over the tiny copper wires prevents them from interacting with the silicon and also conducts electricity.
But the Stanford team shows that a graphene layer would be eight times thinner than one made from tantalum nitride. But using graphene as a layer can also act as an auxiliary conductor of electrons as well as isolating the copper from the silicon.
But while the method holds promise, there are still hurdles to adopting graphene to this purpose. That would include methods to grow graphene directly onto the wires during mass production.