London Calling

Graphene Breakthrough Foretells Computerized Couture Revolution


Analysts predict that global sales for wearable technology could reach €25million by the end of the decade. No doubt, then, that those electronics companies developing technology to help advance computerized couture will reap substantial financial rewards.

For example, Korean electronics giant Samsung says a significant breakthrough in its graphene synthesis method could lead to new flexible and wearable electronics. Researchers discovered a novel way to create large-area, single-crystal wafer-scale graphene, thus solving previous operating problems associated with multi-crystal synthesis. In addition, the company created a transistor structure using graphene that extends performance beyond conventional silicon-based designs.

The importance of graphene in this application relates to the speed of electron movement. In conventional semiconductor components, constructed of huge numbers of transistors, performance is very much tied to electron mobility. Consequently, much semiconductor design work currently focuses on transistor positioning or reducing transistor size to cut the distances that electrons must travel.

The point about graphene in this regard is that its performance, in terms of electron mobility, is nearly 200 times quicker than conventional means. This would appear to be the Holy Grail of semiconductor design, but graphene has one major sticking point: It’s extremely difficult to switch off because it’s only partially metallic.

Samsung resolved this problem by redesigning the fundamental characteristics of digital switching. Now, graphene devices can be switched off without jeopardizing electron mobility.

Wearable Technology Collaboration

To help perpetuate technology development for wearable digital designs, Samsung entered into a collaborative effort with nano-electronics research center Imec. This move by Samsung is part of its digital health initiative directed at the development of wearable sensors that will offer greater insight and analysis regarding a user’s health and how it’s affected by lifestyle.

 A core element of Samsung’s Simband platform is a complex reference sensor module that integrates advanced sensing technologies from Imec. Both organizations believe this sensor array will help provide a deeper understanding of the human body.

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