While reading the MIT Technology Review this morning, here is a new material that looks very promising as a potential replacement to silicon:graphene. Here's an excerpt from the article:
"The writing is on the wall for the silicon chip. Transistors have been shrinking for the last half a century but they cannot get smaller forever. ...One possibility is graphene, which various teams around the world have used to make hugely fast transistors. Last year, one team clocked a graphene transistor at a cool 427 GHz. ...There is a significant problem with graphene that makes it difficult to use in transistors- it has no band gap. ... Today, Guanxiong Liu and pals at University of California, Riverside, say they've found a way round this that allows graphene transistors with no band gap to work in an entirely different way to conventional switches. "The obtained results present a conceptual change in graphene research and indicate an alternative route for graphene's applications in information processing,"
Then I saw this headline in the WSJ,
"Wonder Material Ignites Patent Frenzy
Graphene, an atom-thick flexible material that's stronger than steel and speedier with electrons than silicon, has ignited a global scientific gold rush to understand it and patent its every imaginable use."
The material is made by shaving down graphite as this video from the WSJ article shows and as well this picture:
This looks to us as the next gold rush and could very well be what we have all been looking for: "the next big thing". Much of the early work is being done at Cambridge University which is now being described as Graphene Lane for the picture below: