IBM (NYSE: IBM) scientists today unveiled several exploratory research breakthroughs that could lead to major advancements in delivering dramatically smaller, faster and more powerful computer chips.

For more than 50 years, computer processors have increased in power and shrunk in size at a tremendous rate. However, today’s chip designers are hitting physical limitations with Moore’s Law, halting the pace of product innovation from scaling alone. With virtually all electronic equipment today built on complementary-symmetry metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) technology, there is an urgent need for new materials and circuit architecture designs compatible with this engineering process as the technology industry nears physical scalability limits of the silicon transistor.

Following years of key physics advances previously only achieved in a laboratory, IBM scientists successfully integrated the development and application of new materials and logic architectures on 200mm (eight inch) diameter wafers. These breakthroughs could potentially provide a new technological basis for the convergence of computing, communication, and consumer electronics.

The first-ever CMOS-compatible graphene device can advance wireless communications, and enable new, high frequency devices, which can operate under adverse temperature and radiation conditions in areas such as security and medical applications.

The graphene integrated circuit, a frequency multiplier, is operational up to 5 GHz and stable up to 200 degrees Celcius. While detailed thermal stability still needs to be evaluated, these results are promising for graphene circuits to be used in high temperature environments.

New architecture flips the current graphene transistor structure on its head. Instead of trying to deposit gate dielectric on an inert graphene surface, the researchers developed a novel embedded gate structure that enables high device yield on a 200mm wafer.

(with thanks to HPC Wire)