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Ornl Process Could Be White Lightning to Electronics Industry

By Oak Ridge National Laboratory

December 8, 2015

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Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers have developed a virtually perfect single layer of "white graphene."

Technically known as hexagonal boron nitride, the material features better transparency than traditional graphene, is chemically inert, and atomically smooth. The white graphene also features high mechanical strength and thermal conductivity. Unlike traditional graphene, however, the new material is an insulator instead of a conductor of electricity, making it useful as a substrate and the foundation for electronic devices.

Traditional graphene has not delivered performance consistent with its theoretical value, but the ORNL researchers say using white graphene as a substrate can help solve the problem while further reducing the thickness and increasing the flexibility of electronic devices. They say the material could enable data transfers that are much faster than what is available today.

"Various hexagonal boron nitride single crystal morphology...formulations have been mentioned in theoretical studies, but for the first time we have demonstrated and explained the process," says ORNL researcher Yijing Stehle.

The process consists of standard atmospheric pressure chemical vapor deposition with a similar furnace, temperature, and time. However, the ORNL team uses a more gentle, controllable way to release the reactant into the furnace, and to determine how to take advantage of inner furnace conditions.

From Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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