Researchers at Stanford have used DNA as a template to synthesize ultra-thin ribbons of graphene directly on silicon wafers. This new approach could ultimately lead to graphene transistors that leak less current and are thus more practical for electronics.

Graphene, a single-atom-thick carbon material first discovered in 2004, has electronic properties that make it attractive for use in integrated circuits. Electrons move much more quickly through graphene than silicon. But even the best graphene transistors are impractical for use in circuits because the material lacks a bandgap—a property of semiconductors that allows transistors to be switched on and off by changing the amount of current running through them. With graphene transistors, there’s too little difference between the amount of current running when they’re switched on versus when they’re off. This causes them to leak excessive amounts of current while in the off state.


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