There has been a slow but steady progress in the technology readiness levels of graphene and related 2D materials based applications. While there is still a significant amount of fundamental research taking place across the globe, there certainly are some early signs of scaled up development of materials, devices and associated fabrication processes. This was evident in this short and to the point conference in the beautiful city of Bilbao in the North of Spain where academics and industry stakeholders from across the globe highlighted the progress and challenges in taking this promising set of materials to the next level of technology readiness.
Key highlights from the conference:
1. There is a clear and strong momentum towards commercializing applications based on graphene platelets that can now be made in huge quantities. That has been the focus of many a graphene conferences in the recent past. However, it is heartening to see the entire community taking initiatives to address the critical need of standards and robust quality control techniques that can migrate along with the materials themselves from the lab to the factory floor/fab.
2. Technologies based on higher quality monolithic films of graphene are getting to the point where questions about yield and throughput are being considered for small scale production. It was interesting to note that the community in general had accepted the issue of graphene transfer as an opportunity rather than an impediment. This is because the transfer process enables integration of these materials with existing fab processes both front and back end due to the low temperatures required.
3. Semiconducting 2D materials are still a hot topic of research and the focus here is on control of domain size, crystallinity and optical/electronic quality during deposition. Challenges still remain in achieving good quality on all of the above figures of merit while scaling up. Solving these issues to enable high quality reproducible 2D semiconductors is definitely a fertile area for some high quality scientific output as well as exploitable IP.
4. Finally, on the fundamental side of this exciting field the next wave of research output seems to focussed on using more than one of these layered monolayer crystals in combination to create Van der Waal’s heterostructures. This is a wide open playing field for scientists across the globe to uncover exciting physics as well as create new functional devices.
It was also really heartening to see our solutions for atomic scale fabrication being utilized successfully across the world and enabling some of this progress that we are seeing today. We not only offer growth process systems for making graphene and other 2D materials but also offer solutions for device fabrication such as mesa/channel etching, atomic layer etching and gate dielectric deposition and device passivation, oxide/nitride deposition and etch for waveguides and other photonic structures. We would be delighted to talk further regarding any of these solutions so please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Dr Ravi Sundaram