As you may have been able to tell from the flurry of research that's occurred over the past few years (which has even resulted in a Nobel Prize
), there's plenty of folks betting on graphene
as the next big thing for computing. One of the big players in that respect has been IBM, which first opened up the so-called graphene bandgap
and has created some of the fastest graphene transistors
around, but is now sounding a slightly more cautious tone when it comes to the would-be demise of silicon-based CPUs. Speaking with Custom PC
, IBM researcher Yu-Ming Lin said that "graphene as it is will not replace the role of silicon in the digital computing regime," and further explained that "there is an important distinction between the graphene transistors that we demonstrated, and the transistors used in a CPU." To that end, he notes that unlike silicon, "graphene does not have an energy gap," and that it therefore cannot be completely "switched off," which puts it at quite a disadvantage compared to silicon. Intel's director of components research, Mike Mayberry, also chimed in on the matter, and noted that "the industry has so much experience with it that there are no plans to move away from silicon as the substrate for chips." That doesn't mean that there still isn't a bright future for graphene, though -- Lin gives the example of hybrid circuit, for instance, which could use graphene as a complement to silicon in order to "enrich the functionality of computer chips."