"It is a new vista for graphene research and chances for graphene-based electronics never looked better than they are now", adds Professor Novoselov.
Graphene alone would not be enough to make the breakthrough. Fortunately, there are many other materials, which are only one atom or one molecule thick, and they were used for help.
The Manchester team made the transistors by combining graphene together with atomic planes of boron nitride and molybdenum disulfide. The transistors were assembled layer by layer in a desired sequence, like a layer cake but on an atomic scale.
Such layer-cake superstructures do not exist in nature. It is an entirely new concept introduced in the report by the Manchester researchers. The atomic-scale assembly offers many new degrees of functionality, without some of which the tunnelling transistor would be impossible.
"The demonstrated transistor is important but the concept of atomic layer assembly is probably even more important," explains Professor Geim. Professor Novoselov added: "Tunnelling transistor is just one example of the inexhaustible collection of layered structures and novel devices which can now be created by such assembly.
"It really offers endless opportunities both for fundamental physics and for applications. Other possible examples include light emission diodes, photovoltaic devices, and so on."
|Contact: Daniel Cochlin|
University of Manchester