FAST! IBM Develops 100GHz Transistor Device

While the flat out GigaHertz race is no longer a priority, we all still get impressed at high clock frequencies. IBM researchers have demonstrated a radio-frequency graphene transistor with the highest cut-off frequency achieved so far for any graphene device - 100 GHz.

"A key advantage of graphene lies in the very high speeds in which electrons propagate, which is essential for achieving high-speed, high-performance next generation transistors," said Dr. T.C. Chen, vice president, Science and Technology, IBM Research. "The breakthrough we are announcing demonstrates clearly that graphene can be utilized to produce high performance devices and integrated circuits."

Here is the deal on the graphene from IBM:

Graphene is a single atom-thick layer of carbon atoms bonded in a hexagonal honeycomb-like arrangement. This two-dimensional form of carbon has unique electrical, optical, mechanical and thermal properties and its technological applications are being explored intensely.Uniform and high-quality graphene wafers were synthesized by thermal decomposition of a silicon carbide (SiC) substrate. The graphene transistor itself utilized a metal top-gate architecture and a novel gate insulator stack involving a polymer and a high dielectric constant oxide. The gate length was modest, 240 nanometers, leaving plenty of space for further optimization of its performance by scaling down the gate length.It is noteworthy that the frequency performance of the graphene device already exceeds the cut-off frequency of state-of-the-art silicon transistors of the same gate length (~ 40 GigaHertz). Similar performance was obtained from devices based on graphene obtained from natural graphite, proving that high performance can be obtained from graphene of different origins. Previously, the team had demonstrated graphene transistors with a cut-off frequency of 26 GigaHertz using graphene flakes extracted from natural graphite.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • 4trees
    All my wildest dreams will come true.
  • amabhy
  • nforce4max
    Hmmmm I wonder how long before they have a fully working cpu developed on this new transistor that can run modern X86 code as well power PC code.
  • Socnom
    that data means nothing if they do not supply the electrical and thermal requirements
  • grillz9909
    Is the source of graphene (graphite) as cheap as silicon? I'd be glad to have more speed, but if it doubles prices I might have to cry.
  • mianmian
    It seems a long way for it to reach our life yet.
  • JonathanDeane
    grillz9909Is the source of graphene (graphite) as cheap as silicon? I'd be glad to have more speed, but if it doubles prices I might have to cry.
    Well how much does pencil lead cost? Its pretty cheap stuff. Although I would hazard a guess that the first few batches of CPU's would cost much much more then your Core i7.... Honestly this is exciting and will allow for whole new kinds of software to be developed! The things that take hours to do now would take seconds...
  • Shadow703793
    Pffff..... only 100Ghz????
    Why not 500Ghz?
    (And yes, it's IBM again)
  • shadow187
    Will it ru-

  • back_by_demand

    I just read the other IBM article about the Power 7's

    8 core's, 32 threads, now just imagine if you could combine the above 100Ghz into a package like that.
    Want to encode the extended edition of Return Of The King in 4 seconds?
    No problem.
    Want to open 1000 photo's from a 20MP camera in CS3?
    No problem.
    Want to run 10 separate instances of Crysis at 2560 x 1600?
    No problem.

    OK, we aren't there yet, but the future is looking very bright.