A graphene Zener–Klein transistor cooled by a hyperbolic substrate

Researchers in the optical and mesoscopic physics teams from the Pierre Aigrain Laboratory based in the ENS Physics department discovered a new cooling mechanism concerning electronic components made of graphene deposited on boron nitride. The efficiency of this mechanism allowed them to reach electric intensities at the intrinsic limit of the laws of conduction.

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From supercalculators to smartphones, industries are confronted with a major challenge: how to evacuate more and more heat to prevent deterioration or even destruction of electronic components. Increasing the density of components on a chipset implies increasing dissipation and thus heat. Nowadays, with the graphene-based materials, this question becomes particularly important as they are only composed of few layers of atoms.

In this context, by producing a graphene-based transistor deposited on a boron nitride substrate, physicists from the Pierre Aigrain Laboratory (CNRS / ENS / UPMC / Paris Diderot University) have discovered a new cooling mechanism 10 times more efficient than basic heat diffusion. This new mechanism, which exploits the two-dimensional nature of the materials opens a "thermal bridge" between the graphene sheet and the substrate. Researchers have demonstrated the effectiveness of this mechanism by imposing in graphene levels of electrical current still unexplored, up to the intrinsic limit of the material and without any degradation of the device. This result, published in Nature Nanotechnology, is an important step towards the development of graphene-based high-frequency electronic transistors.

This article is taken from a news published by the National Institute of Physics of the CNRS.

Researcher contact: Bernard Plaçais

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Communication contact: The communication team of the department