The core of today's familiar processors and graphics cards is based on the material silicon. But as the process became more advanced, it pushed the limits of silicon and Moore's Law failed. Is there any alternative to silicon? The answer is graphene. But none has yet broken through.
Several Chinese companies recently set up the Graphene Copper Innovation Consortium with the aim of developing graphene-based chips to replace silicon chips.
Just How strong are graphene chips? It is more than 10 times more powerful than silicon and consumes less power. Twelve years ago, IBM demonstrated graphene wafers, which can reach frequencies of more than 100GHz. In theory, graphene chips could have frequencies up to 1,000 GHZ. In contrast, current silicon-based processors have not overclocked more than 10GHz.
If graphene chips are successful, it could lead to corner-passing in chip manufacturing. Of course, it is still very difficult, and many countries are working on graphene chips, so far, there is no mass production.
Graphene is a special material made of a single layer arranged in a hexagonal lattice of carbon atoms. It is about 200 times stronger than steel, conducts electricity and heat better than copper, and weighs less than 1 milligram per square meter.
It also has high conductivity and thermal conductivity, so it has great potential for development in various fields such as heat dissipation, batteries and chips.
Back in 2010, IBM demonstrated graphene-based wafers with transistors up to 100GHz, and could theoretically make 500GHz to 1000GHz chips.