Tiny microchips can be made from graphene and other two-dimensional (2D) materials using a form of “nano-origami.” By creating kinks in the structure of graphene, researchers made the nanomaterial behave like a transistor and showed that when a strip of graphene is crinkled in this way, it can behave like a microchip that is around 100 times smaller than conventional microchips.

The base of the 2D material. The white lines show the structural kinks that modify the electrical properties mechanically.

Using these nanomaterials could make computer chips smaller and faster. This kind of technology (straintronics) — using nanomaterials as opposed to electronics — allows space for more chips inside any device.

Instead of adding foreign materials into a device, the researchers created structures from graphene and other 2D materials simply by adding deliberate kinks into the structure. By making this sort of corrugation, they can create a smart electronic component like a transistor or a logic gate.

The development is a greener, more sustainable technology. Because no additional materials need to be added and the process works at room temperature rather than high temperature, it uses less energy to create.

For more information, contact Neil Vowles at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; (+44) 01273 873712.