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László P. Biró


Prof. László P. Biró is the head of the Nanostructures Department ( in the Research Institute for Technical Physics and Materials Science of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He received his Ph.D. degree in 1997 from the Technical University of Budapest after contributing to STM and AFM investigation of surface nanostructures produced by ion irradiation. In 2005, he became the Doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences for his work on carbon nanotube-type nanostructures. Currently, he is interested in the atomic scale, cystallographically controlled nanolithography of graphene and photonic nanoarchitectures of biological origin and bioinspiration. The group of Prof. Biró developed the first two nanolithographic methods, which allow the production of graphene nanoribbons with well defined structure and gap values making possible the room temperature operation of graphene based nanoelectronics.


Graphene: the Route from Touch Screens to Digital Nanoelectronics

The discovery of graphene in 2004 – a potential winner in the competition for the title of the wonder material of the 21st century – was rewarded in 2010 by the Nobel prize for Physics. This one single atom thick sheet of graphite, built from carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice, is stronger than diamond, yet flexible, conducts electricity and heat better than copper, furthermore it is transparent. Its electronic properties surpass by orders of magnitude those of silicon, raising the possibility of high-efficiency, low-power, carbon-based nanoelectronics. With the prediction from the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors that the development of silicon based CMOS – the heart of our computers and mobile phones – comes to the end by 2022, mainly due to physical laws of Nature, it’s extraordinary properties make graphene one of the most attractive potential replacements of silicon. Scientists attribute graphene’s surprising electronic properties (as well as a number of even stranger phenomena) to the presence of charge carriers that behave as if they were massless, “relativistic” quasiparticles called Dirac fermions. Harnessing these quasiparticles in real-world carbon-based devices, however, requires new, nanolithographic procedures – allowing for the creation of graphene nanostructures with atomic precision – and a deeper knowledge of the behavior of the quasiparticles under less-than-ideal circumstances, such as around defects, at edges, at grain boundaries, etc. Fortunately there is another market sector, that of flexible touch screens, with less demanding requirements under the aspect of material properties, but significantly more demanding under the aspect of the size of available graphene sheets. Due to the fact that the indium used in present day flat screens is close to depletion, large size graphene sheets produced by chemical vapor deposition on copper are ready to take over the role of ITO. As a supplementary benefit, this will make flat screens flexible. Very likely this segment of the to be born “graphene industry” will be able to sustain the pace of material and technological developments for a long enough time, required to make feasible the implementation of graphene based nanoelectronics.