Conductors, wrapped up with graphene, will enable accelerating computer chips by a minimum of 30 percent

ElectronicApril 19, 2015

The graphene, carbon form, which crystal lattice has one-nuclear thickness, is often positioned as perspective material which is capable to replace silicon in computer chips of the next generation. However, according to the researches conducted by scientists from Stanford University, use of a graphene will allow to accelerate a minimum for 30 percent and chips of the existing architecture. For this purpose it will be required to wrap up a graphene instead of the tantalum nitride used now all copper conductors connecting among themselves components of chips and components of chips with “outside world”.

“Now research works are concentrated on development of new main components of chips, such as transistors, etc. But scientists for some reason avoid one more important component – connecting conductors which improvement can also have huge impact on productivity of chips” – tells X. – With Wong (H. – S Wong), the leading researcher.

The cover from tantalum nitride in which copper conductors of modern chips dress, carries out at once two functions. It is the additional conductor of electricity, allowing to isolate copper from silicon elements of the chip, at the same time. Existence of a layer of nitride of tantalum guarantees that atoms of copper will not pollute a surface of silicon transistors, having broken that their working capacity.

In the researches scientists from Stanford found out that the covering of copper conductors a layer of a graphene will allow to achieve the same effect, as well as drawing a covering from tantalum nitride. But, thickness of a graphene covering is at least eight times less than covering thickness from tantalum nitride. Besides, the graphene possessing high electric conductivity is rather quite good additional conductor of electrons, and the electrons moving on a crystal lattice of a graphene from one atom of carbon to another effectively interfere with atoms of copper to get outside and to pollute a surface of silicon elements.

It is known that copper conductors are “tracks” on which data circulate in the chip and are transferred outside in a type of results of the operations executed by the chip. The graphene covering allows to increase data transmission speeds on copper conductors, having left amount of the energy which is required for this purpose at the former level. Scientists estimated that simple replacement of nitride of tantalum with a covering from a graphene at the expense of increase in speed of data transmission will bring a modest gain of productivity, from 4 to 17 percent.

However, as transistors and the sizes of crystals of chips still will decrease in sizes, productivity gain due to use of graphene wrappers of conductors can rise to impressive value, it is not lower than 30 percent. And such gain can be realized in chips within the next two generations (technical processes).

“Use of a graphene attracts researchers various “delicacies” in the field of industrial electronics long ago. And “tuning” of copper conductors by means of a graphene has chance to become the first practical realization of one of perspective graphene technologies” – in end added X. – With Wong.

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