Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  24 / 280 Next Page
Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 24 / 280 Next Page
Page Background

T

he Solan company is commercialising semiconducting

graphene nanoribbon applications in the optoelectronics

and electronics markets. Solan’s use of conventional

semiconductor processing technology plus the unique properties

of graphene nanoribbons permits the fabrication of wireless

devices in the GHz and THz range, as well as optoelectronics

applications in the optical and infrared spectrum.

It isn’t often that a new group of materials is discovered. That

happened in 2004 when researchers at the University of

Manchester discovered graphene, single-atom-thick layers of

carbon that they peeled from graphite crystals with adhesive tape.

When the properties were measured on these small samples, they

were amazing – stronger than steel, better electrical conduction

than copper, better heat conduction than diamond. Since then

other super-thin or 2D compounds have been found, but none

rival graphene in its versatility and potential abundance.

Single-atom-thick graphene sheets or short stacks of these sheets

may be made in a number of ways – by peeling from graphite

physically or chemically to make graphene powders or by

depositing from gas or liquid. Graphene particles have been used

to strengthen carbon fibre composites – for example in tennis

rackets – and can be printed to form flexible electronics. Vapour-

deposited graphene is being developed as a transparent

conductor for touchscreens to replace indium tin oxide.

Graphene is a great conductor, but if it can be made into a

semiconductor it has many more uses. If you make the graphene

into thin ribbons of a few microns or less, the electrons don’t have

much room to move – quantum confinement – and they develop a

band gap. The band gap, the difference between the high energy

state and the low energy state for the electrons, can be used to

absorb light or radio waves or to create a transistor or other

semiconductor device just as in silicon. The smaller the ribbon the

smaller the wavelength – nanometre widths for light, micron

widths for radio – and they are infinitely tuneable.

As a result, graphene ribbon devices can be made into a range of

sensors, detectors, filters, polarisers, amplifiers etc. that can’t be

made in silicon. This means we can exploit this new technology in

medical imaging or super high data rate wireless communications.

The company

Solan LLC was formed in 2010 to commercialise the graphene

process technology developed by the University of Utah and has

also developed its own unique patent portfolio. Seven patents

have been issued with over 20 pending and over 1,200 claims.

These are the practical building blocks for next-generation

wireless, sensor and solar technologies.

Solan’s patent portfolio, including US patents 7,858,876,

8,440,331, 8,580,658, 8,624,222, 8,664,642, 8,853,061 and

the just-allowed US 2014/0312307 and worldwide equivalents,

teaches in considerable detail how to create multi-level and multi-

configuration graphene ribbon arrays, how to connect them to

circuits using metallic work functions to advantage, how to create

multiple band gap systems using planar and non-planar structures

Solan is bringing graphene nanoribbons to the market via a variety of applications

Tied up with a nanoribbon

24

I S S U E S E V E N

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L

www.horizon2020projects.com

P R O F I L E

S P E C I A L F E AT U R E : M AT E R I A L S