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GaAs on graphene hybrid for optoelectronics

A novel flexible structure composed of gallium arsenide nanowires on graphene could revolutionise the entire semiconductor industry

CrayoNano is introducing GaAs nanowires on graphene, a patented hybrid material with competitive properties.

Semiconductors grown on graphene are expected to become the basis for new types of device systems, and could fundamentally change the semiconductor industry.

The new patented hybrid material offers excellent optoelectronic properties, says Helge Weman, CTO and co-founder of CrayoNano AS. “We have managed to combine low cost, transparency and flexibility in our new electrode,” he adds.

The patented method of growing semiconductor nanowires on atomically thin graphene employs MBE to grow the nanowires.

“We do not see this as a new product,” Weman says. “This is a template for a new production method for semiconductor devices. We expect solar cells and light emitting diodes to be first in line when future applications are planned.”

“Graphene is experiencing tremendous attention worldwide,” Weman notes. “Companies like IBM and Samsung are driving this development in the search for a replacement for silicon in electronics as well as for new applications, such as flexible touch screens for mobile phones. Well, they need not wait any more. Our invention fits perfectly with the production machinery they already have. We make it easy for them to upgrade consumer electronics to a level where design has no limits.”

This invention is thus thought to be an enabler for a future platform for electronics and optoelectronics devices. One possible device with very large market potential is a nanowire solar cell.

This type of solar cell has the potential to be efficient, cheap and flexible at the same time. The invention also makes it possible to imagine a future with self-powered nanomachines and advanced 3D integrated circuits built on graphene and semiconductor nanowires, enabling smaller and more efficient electronics.

Weman himself envisions flexible self-powered consumer electronics integrated into everything from clothes to notepads, and of course traditional cell phones, tablets and exercise accessories.

“Semiconductors grown on graphene could become the basis for new types of device systems, and could transform the semiconductor industry by introducing graphene as a preferred substrate for many applications,” he says.

The scientific results that led to the development of the new material have recently been published in the paper, "Vertically Aligned GaAs Nanowires on Graphite and Few-Layer Graphene: Generic Model and Epitaxial Growth," by A. Mazid Munshi et al, in Nano Letters.  DOI: 10.1021/nl3018115

CrayoNano AS has its origins in the III-V semiconductor nanowire research done at the Department of Electronics and Telecommunications at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). This research has been strongly supported by the Research Council of Norway since 2007.

The project is embedded in the NTNU NanoLab, MBE Lab and Nano-Photonics Laboratory. The technology has been patented by NTNU Technology Transfer of which CrayoNano is a spin-off company. The founders, Helge Weman and Bjørn-Ove Fimland, are both responsible for important research groups and labs at NTNU.

CrayoNano AS was founded in June 2012 in order to develop and commercialise the new semiconductor/graphene hybrid technology, and holds exclusive licenses for all relevant fields of use.
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