After the discover of graphene in 2014 by Geim and Novoselov that got the Nobel price in 2010, scientists have worked hard to investigate all possible properties and possible uses of this material. At the beginning graphene was proposed as possible candidate to substitute silicon in electronics, due its extreme high conductivity. However differently from silicon it doesn’t have a gap and therefore cannot be directly used to produce transistors. Scientists proposed different solutions to this problem, but after more than ten years graphene transistors do not exist yet in the market. In fact there are many other problems related to graphene that has not been solved yet, as the control of graphene flakes, the production, deposition etc…
The story it is similar to what happened ten years before with nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes discovered in 1991 by Iijima, are the smallest possible one-dimensional wires that conduct electricity in a manner similar to graphene. Also in that case scientists promised great revolution in electronics, material science, etc… However after different attempts the only device is probably a tennis racket in the science museum that is extremely light and resistant but also super expensive ( for few other applications see wiki).
Is it appending the same for graphene? In my opinion yes, and scientists already realized this fact. Aware of this they are already moving out from graphene, as they have done from nanotubes. You can see this from the last conference titles: “Flatland beyond graphene“, “Symposium: devices beyond graphene“, “Two Dimensional Electronics Beyond Graphene“….
So graphene didn’t work, and we are moving towards new materials. And what about all the promises that have been done? All the money obtained from the UE with the graphene Flagship?
I have nothing against this large project but I guess that in 2013 when it was approved the researchers in the scientific panel already knew that graphene was not anymore the target but unfortunately funding from politicians often arrive with a delay respect to research advances, and graphene was a good name to attract them.
Other interesting articles:
- Graphene transistors can’t be turned off, won’t replace silicon in processors
- How UK wonder substance graphene can’t and won’t benefit UK
- The growing graphene investment bubble
- Graphene and the innovation gap
- We need more than graphene
- Is graphene really a wonder-material?
- Graphene: fast, strong, cheap and impossible to use