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.
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.