Build a better transistor

Zhenan Bao and colleagues at Stanford University have used DNA to template the formation of ribbons of grapheme to be used to construct a future generation of molecular electronics devices. Graphene is like a monolayer of grapheme. Electrically the lattice of carbon atoms is an extremely efficient conductor. Bao and other researchers believe that ribbons of graphene, laid side-by-side, could create semiconductor circuits. Given the material’s tiny dimensions and favorable electrical properties, graphene nano ribbons could create very fast chips that run on very low power, she says. The team has now shown how laying DNA strands on to a silicon substrate can then be used to lay down graphene ribbons which tests show transistor behavior.