IBM built an integrated circuit using graphene back in 2011, but it wasn't a complete breakthrough -- much of the hardware was based on old-fashioned metal and silicon. UC Santa Barbara has gone one step further by showing how to design an IC made exclusively from the advanced substance. The new process shapes circuit components from graphene ribbons whose properties change depending on the pattern; a narrow ribbon is semiconducting, while a wide ribbon is metallic. Chips designed this way should be thinner, more efficient and easier to assemble than their mixed-material counterparts. The catch? Right now, this all-graphene IC exists solely as a computer model. When there are no immediate plans for production, it could be a long while before we see the real thing.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.