Graphene boasts a truly magnificent and unique feature: its speed electrical conductivity is comparable to the speed of light. The electrical conductivity of the materials is provided by the mobility of electrons in atoms. For example, in metals a certain amount of electrons is located in a so-called zone of conductivity, which allows them to move freely between the atoms. Semiconductors in their turn have a so-called band gap, through which the electrons need to jump over so the material becomes electrically conducting. To achieve this, more energy, such as heat, is used.
So, although grapheme it is not a metal, it features no no gap, so that the electrons are free to move, which poses a serious problem: a graphene transistor can not be turned off completely, which means that the device containing such a transistor, will keep on permanently consuming electricity. However, there is an upside to this. Due to the fact that the mass of the electron graphene hardly affects the electric fields of other charged particles, it is capable of moving at a fantastic speed. So fast that its speed can only be described by Einstein’s theory of relativity, and the grapheme himself can be compared with particles accelerator. Such a mind-boggling speed of movement of electrons allows them reacting sensitively to high frequency electromagnetic fields, which in this case means that a graphene transistor is switched on and off very quickly.
The revolution looming on the horizon
Why do scientists still tinkering with this wayward material? Actually, the opportunities of graphene are truly endless; some even say that grapheme is the material of the future.Unless scientists can create a graphene bandgap, mankind will step to the next level of scientific and technical progress. Thus graphene can be utilised for production of any components, even entire power chains with mind-blowing conductivity.
A group of experts from IBM Research Center have come close to creating a transistor that can be switched one hundred billion times per second. Unfortunately, such a transistor is not yet possible to completely turn off. Maybe it will not be a hindrance to use in some mobile phones or radars. But certainly, it is not suitable for the production of computer equipment.
However, scientists are working tirelessly. Specialists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA, in collaboration with, perhaps, one of the most famous graphene companies 2-DTech, found experimentally that if you put a double layer of graphene is in an electric field, then there is the same band gap, and its size can be adjusted by changing the strength of the field. And Professor Robert Haddon of the University of California proposed to apply to the carbon strips chemical elements affecting the electrical conductivity of graphene.
Graphene provides great prospects in the production of light-sensitive elements for fiber-optic networks. It can be an excellent detector of harmful gases and toxic substances. Recently, the first prototype of mobile phone with a screen of the graphene layer, stitched with metal fibers, has been released. This screen will not break and will not crack even if the phone is dropped. The commercial enterprises, 2-DTECH for example, believes that graphene uses are unlimited.