No chip trick, but an electrifying find !!!

THE multimilliondollar industry of semiconductors could be usurped by a relative
unknown called graphene.

That is, if the team headed by Associate Professor Loh Kian Ping, 39, can find
cheap methods to synthesise this material in bulk. Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms, one-million times thinner than a strand of human hair.

With properties not found in conventional semiconductors, graphene's electrons are extremely light and fast- moving compared with silicon and do not scatter. This will allow for faster, cheaper chips packing much more information into electronic devices.

'Graphene behaves like it's weightless so it can travel much faster than ordinary conductors, at one million meters per second. Light is only 300 times faster,' said Prof Loh, who is deputy head of the National University of Singapore's chemistry department. Little is known of this new material.

Even graphene's basic properties have yet to be studied. But the team is optimistic about making transistors and solar devices with it. 'If we can make graphene on a large scale in wafer size, cheaply and at high quality, this will be superior to silicon chips,' said Prof Loh.