Samsung Breakthrough in Turning Graphene into Commercially Viable Material

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Samsung says that it has developed a breakthrough that could lead to a speeding up of plans to commercialise the use of the "wonder material" graphene in consumer electronics.

Graphene has one hundred times greater electron mobility than silicon, the most widely used material in semiconductors today. It is more durable than steel and has high heat conductibility as well as flexibility, which makes it the perfect material for use in flexible displays, wearables and other next generation electronic devices.

Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), in partnership with Sungkyunkwan University, became the first in the world to develop this new method.

SAIT says that it uncovered a new method of growing large area, single crystal wafer scale graphene. Engineers around the world have invested heavily in research for the commercialization of graphene, but have faced many obstacles due to the challenges associated with it. In the past, researchers have found that multi-crystal synthesis - the process of synthesizing small graphene particles to produce large-area graphene - deteriorated the electric and mechanical properties of the material, limiting its application range and making it difficult to commercialize.

The new method developed by SAIT and Sungkyunkwan University synthesizes large-area graphene into a single crystal on a semiconductor, maintaining its electric and mechanical properties. The new method repeatedly synthesizes single crystal graphene on the current semiconductor wafer scale.

Over the past several decades, the growth of the semiconductor industry has been driven by the ability to grow the area of a silicon wafer, while steadily decreasing the process node. In order to commercialize graphene to displace the industry's reliance on silicon, it is vital to develop a new method to grow a single crystal graphene into a large area.

The research results will be published in the April 4 issue of Science Magazine and ScienceExpress.

The research was funded by Korea's Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP), under the Project to Nurture Leading Creative Researching Experts Program.

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