Current Projects: Exploring Graphene


Graphene, the two-dimensional carbon detected in this form only in 2004, has undergone rapid development and is considered one of the most promising materials for the information technology of the future. This is due to an extraordinary combination of properties: Graphene is almost as hard as diamond, but can still be stretched like rubber before it breaks. It conducts heat better than copper, electrical current better than silicon and is almost transparent, as it has a thickness of only one atom. It is chemically rather unassailable, impenetrable for almost all elements, but water-permeable, and is based on the easily accessible material carbon.

Since graphene can now be produced in large quantities both chemically and physically, the application possibilities of the new material as electronic ink for writing electronic circuits and as a basis for foldable mobile phone displays are only just beginning. New ultra-fast transistors, extremely fast optocouplers, new concepts for considerably faster chargeable batteries, individual sequencing of DNA strands, water desalination plants and other possible applications are already conceivable.


Several of our faculty's research projects contribute to transforming many of these possibilities into economic reality in the future: The Institute of Semiconductor Electronics (IHT) is represented by two projects in the Graphene priority program launched by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The newly established Chair of High Frequency Electronics (HFE) is involved in the FET flagship program Graphene initiated by the EU. The associated company Gesellschaft für Angewandte Mikro- und Optoelektronik mbH (AMO GmbH), which is affiliated to the RWTH, is also involved in this project.