Silicon in Graphene

Graphene is a new material that I mentioned in a few classes this year. It is a single atomic layer of carbon atoms. It has remarkable chemical properties such as high electrical conductivity and has the potential to be 100 times stronger than steel. Recently, scientists have begun introducing impurities into graphene.

All of the computer chips that are used in electronics got to be very sophisticated by introducing impurities in them. Computer chips are made with a base material of silicon and the common impurities introduced included Boron and Phosphorous. Interestingly with graphine, one impurity that is being looked at now is silicon. Wouldn’t it be interesting if silicon, the base substance for the previous generation of technology, became the impurity in graphene, the next generation of technology.

Pictured here is an arrangement of graphene, mostly carbon atoms, with one silicon atom introduced as an impurity. The silicon atom is easy to spot. Now any of you that have been through Sec 1 or Sec 2 chemistry should be able to tell – why is the silicon atom larger than carbon?

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