A Step Closer To Graphene-Based Microprocessors

The growing popularity of digital devices has spurred the need for integrated circuits that are light weight, consume ultra-low power and are highly efficient.

Technology companies are increasingly focusing on nano electronics for developing such devices but using nano material like graphene is still challenging as there is little evidence of it showing intrinsic magnetism.

Graphene, a carbon material, is the thinnest and strongest material known.

Now, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad, and University of Hyderabad have shown that graphene can be made magnetic with the control on electric field and temperature. They have shown this in single layer zigzag graphene nanoribbons.

The team exploited intrinsic magnetism in this light weight soft magnetic material, and also observed occurrence of various magnetic phases and its transitions from one phase to another.

It has designed a methodology to identify the position of the appeared magnetic phases, moving towards making ‘graphene chip’ a reality in future.

In order to make ‘graphene processors’ a reality, the key issue to be addressed is thermal management. To achieve this, we need a mechanism which could harness excess heat generated in the operation of gadgets to induce magnetism.

It was observed that if one value (say electric field) is kept constant, the other value (temperature) can be increased or decreased to obtain different magnetic phases and vice versa.

It means if one’s laptop is generating high temperature, lower electric field could achieve the distinct magnetic phases in nano ribbons.

This thermoelectromagnetic effect and unusual behaviour of magnetism in graphene which is tunable are definitely a stepping stone towards graphene electronics.

The work could pave the way for stretching performance of integrated circuits and eventually lead to realization of laptops powered by graphene-based microprocessors.

This is a ‘India Science Wire’ story; edited by Clean-Future Team