Frank: I'm with you. The advance in research and theory is always inspiring, but I'd be interested to know where this is in the pipleline that flows from academia to the production flaw. We know that some technologies never make it all the way through, but it's nice to keep an eye on their progress.
Does anyone know, or can even speculate, on how long it typically takes for such advances to result in a practical prototype of an actual product? Surely, there's some sort of rule of thumb on that...?
@Tom, such research are of more importance now than ever a traditional silicon technology is going to hit the wall in 5-7 years (below 7nm nodes). So we need to look at ways to increase the integration of other materials with silicon.
Wilber: Whenever I hear that chips or other technologies might "hit a wall," it makes me think about technololgies in history. When did we ever really "hit a wall" with other technologies? I think it's in human nature to continually improve and expand. There may be little delays here and there, but maybe that's nature's way of giving the application of technology to catch up with the advances themselves.
For various reasons, technologies fall out of favor and are replaced by other technologies, usually because the newer technology is cheaper (sometimes because a resource is exhausted) or more convenient. For example, whale oil was widely used for lighting and more recently automatic transmission fluid, but now we have electric lights -- now with more LEDs! -- and the idea of oil lamps seems as quaint as powering cars using gasoline will seem 50 years from now.
Betajet Thanks for the info on whale oil...didn't know it was used at automatic transmission fluid, and can't imagine why!? But I'm more interested in what happens when we "hit the wall" of exhausting the expansion of a given technology. EG: When we run out of rubber plants, we invented sythetic rubber. When a pioneer runs out of wood, they search for a substitute fuel (or move to a place with more wood).
What happens when we run out of, say, mobile frequencies? What happens if we hit the limit of transistors in a chip (does Moore's Law stop)? What would be the consequence of such a situation? Would the world's progress hit a plateau? or would we spend more time catching up socially with where we are technically? Is unending technical advance inherently good?
The graphene here was deposited with chemical vapor deposition (CVD) which is relatively easy to do for small islands, but impossibly difficult to grow across a whole wafer. The rest of the process was typical MEMS--deposit on SiO2, etch out the SiO2 underneath the graphene (see black slit in photo), leaving a suspended membrane.
It is just a start, I think all the sensors associated with either of force/pressure/vibration will be having a complete makeover and miniaturization of their size and shape. But the durability will be the property of testing still.
I think the newer MEMS will not a problem as far as manufacturing is concern, as they have already a prototype (As seen from the picture in the article). But application and acceptance will be dependent on the manufacturers' efforts.
All the major semiconductor makers are working on graphene deposition in hopes of bringing this new material into the CMOS workflow. Many of them tell me they are close, but my experience has been that it takes as long as a decade to introduce a new material..
It is a long way to productization of Graphene-based MEMS. As many commentors pointed out below, the manufacturing infrastructure for MEMS, in particular the backend part will see major disruptions with the introduction of such devices. Etching out SiO2 underneath the Graphene to the accuracy needed is no walk in the park!
More over, other 'mechanical' responses of MEMS need to be innovated with Graphene.
@docdivakar, i think the most of the innovations start their implementation in defence and space applications. So, if we can look for ways to put the reseach output in some applications then industry will find ways to make production cost effective.
I wonder what that does to the noise produced by the strain gauges? I've attempted to use thinfilm strain gauges to sense the bending of a tuning fork, and found that the electrical noise was horrific rendering it useless for our application. Switching to piezo sensors dramatically improved performance. I would be interested in hearing experiences on this.