Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

High-frequency, scaled graphene transistors on diamond-like carbon


Owing to its high carrier mobility and saturation velocity, graphene has attracted enormous attention in recent years1,2,3,4,5. In particular, high-performance graphene transistors for radio-frequency (r.f.) applications are of great interest6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13. Synthesis of large-scale graphene sheets of high quality and at low cost has been demonstrated using chemical vapour deposition (CVD) methods14. However, very few studies have been performed on the scaling behaviour of transistors made from CVD graphene for r.f. applications, which hold great potential for commercialization. Here we report the systematic study of top-gated CVD-graphene r.f. transistors with gate lengths scaled down to 40 nm, the shortest gate length demonstrated on graphene r.f. devices. The CVD graphene was grown on copper film and transferred to a wafer of diamond-like carbon. Cut-off frequencies as high as 155 GHz have been obtained for the 40-nm transistors, and the cut-off frequency was found to scale as 1/(gate length). Furthermore, we studied graphene r.f. transistors at cryogenic temperatures. Unlike conventional semiconductor devices where low-temperature performance is hampered by carrier freeze-out effects, the r.f. performance of our graphene devices exhibits little temperature dependence down to 4.3 K, providing a much larger operation window than is available for conventional devices.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Fabrication and output characteristics for graphene r.f. transistors.
Figure 2: Cut-off frequencies for three different devices at room temperature.
Figure 3: Scaling behaviour of cut-off frequencies with gate length down to 40 nm.
Figure 4: Temperature dependence of cut-off frequency for different devices.


  1. Novoselov, K. S. et al. Two-dimensional gas of massless Dirac fermions in graphene. Nature 438, 197–200 (2005)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Zhang, Y. B., Tan, Y. W., Stormer, H. L. & Kim, P. Experimental observation of the quantum Hall effect and Berry’s phase in graphene. Nature 438, 201–204 (2005)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Berger, C. et al. Electronic confinement and coherence in patterned epitaxial graphene. Science 312, 1191–1196 (2006)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Avouris, P. Graphene: electronic and photonic properties and devices. Nano Lett. 10, 4285–4294 (2010)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Lemme, M. C., Echtermeyer, T. J., Baus, M. & Kurz, H. A graphene field-effect device. IEEE Electron Device Lett. 28, 282–284 (2007)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Lin, Y.-M. et al. Operation of graphene transistors at gigahertz frequencies. Nano Lett. 9, 422–426 (2009)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Meric, I., Baklitskaya, N., Kim, P. & Shepard, K. L. RF performance of top-gated, zero-bandgap graphene field-effect transistors. Tech. Dig. IEDM 1–4 10.1109/IEDM.2008.4796738 (2008)

  8. Lin, Y.-M. et al. Development of graphene FETs for high frequency electronics. Tech. Dig. IEDM 237–240 10.1109/IEDM.2009.5424378 (2009)

  9. Lin, Y.-M. et al. 100 GHz transistors from wafer-scale epitaxial graphene. Science 327, 662 (2010)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Moon, J. S. et al. Epitaxial-graphene RF field-effect transistors on Si-face 6H-SiC substrates. IEEE Electron Device Lett. 30, 650–652 (2009)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Liao, L. et al. High-speed graphene transistors with a self-aligned nanowire gate. Nature 467, 305–308 (2010)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Lee, J. et al. RF performance of pre-patterned locally-embedded-back-gate graphene device. Tech. Dig. IEDM 568–571 10.1109/IEDM.2010.5703422 (2010)

  13. Schwierz, F. Graphene transistors. Nature Nanotechnol. 5, 487–496 (2010)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Li, X. S. et al. Large-area synthesis of high-quality and uniform graphene films on copper foils. Science 324, 1312–1314 (2009)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Han, M. Y., Özyilmaz, B., Zhang, Y. B. & Kim, P. Energy band-gap engineering of graphene nanoribbons. Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 206805 (2007)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Wang, X. et al. Room-temperature all-semiconducting sub-10-nm graphene nanoribbon field-effect transistors. Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 206803 (2008)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Chen, Z., Lin, Y.-M., Rooks, M. J. & Avouris Graphene nano-ribbon electronics. Physica E 40, 228–232 (2007)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Li, X., Wang, X., Zhang, L., Lee, S. & Dai, H. Chemically derived, ultrasmooth graphene nanoribbon semiconductors. Science 319, 1229–1232 (2008)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Xia, F., Farmer, D. B., Lin, Y.-M. & Avouris Graphene field-effect transistors with high on/off current ratio and large transport band gap at room temperature. Nano Lett. 10, 715–718 (2010)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Robertson, J. Diamond-like amorphous carbon. Mater. Sci. Eng. Rep. 37, 129–281 (2002)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Lee, B. K. et al. Conformal Al2O3 dielectric layer deposited by atomic layer deposition for graphene-based nanoelectronics. Appl. Phys. Lett. 92, 203102 (2008)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Kim, D. H. & del Alamo, J. A. 30-nm InAs pseudomorphic HEMTs on an InP substrate with a current-gain cutoff frequency of 628 GHz. IEEE Electron Device Lett. 29, 830–833 (2008)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Gummel, H. K. On the definition of the cutoff frequency fT . Proc. IEEE 57, 2159 (1969)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Arden, W. et al. (eds) ITRS 2009 edition. 〈〉 (21 June 2010)

  25. Katsnelson, M. I., Novoselov, K. S. & Geim, A. K. Chiral tunnelling and the Klein paradox in graphene. Nature Phys. 2, 620–625 (2006)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Huard, B. et al. Transport measurements across a tunable potential barrier in graphene. Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 236803 (2007)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Young, A. F. & Kim, P. Quantum interference and Klein tunnelling in graphene heterojunctions. Nature Phys. 5, 222–226 (2009)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Sze, S. M. & Ng, K. K. Physics of Semiconductor Devices 3rd edn (Wiley-Interscience, 2006)

    Book  Google Scholar 

  29. Lee, T. H. The Design of CMOS Radio-Frequency Integrated Circuits (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004)

    Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank T. Graham, B. Ek, J. Bucchignano, C. V. Jahnes and S. Han for technical assistance, and C. Y. Sung, V. Perebeinos, A. Valdes-Garcia, C. Dimitrakopoulos, W. Zhu and H.-Y. Chiu for discussions. This work was supported in part by DARPA through the CERA programme (contract FA8650-08-C-7838). The views, opinions and findings contained in this Letter are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official views or policies, either expressed or implied, of DARPA or the US Department of Defense.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



Y.W., Y.-m.L. and P.A. designed the experiment, and Y.W. performed device fabrication, electrical characterization and data analysis. Y.-m.L. and K.A.J. contributed to the r.f. characterization. A.A.B. performed graphene synthesis, and F.X. helped to prepare the DLC substrate. Y.-m.L and D.B.F. contributed to device fabrication. Y.Z. performed TEM imaging. Y.W. wrote the Letter, and Y.-m.L. and P.A. discussed and commented on the manuscript. All authors provided feedback.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Yu-ming Lin or Phaedon Avouris.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

This file contains Supplementary Text and Data, Supplementary Figures 1-7 with legends and additional references. (PDF 516 kb)

PowerPoint slides

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wu, Y., Lin, Ym., Bol, A. et al. High-frequency, scaled graphene transistors on diamond-like carbon. Nature 472, 74–78 (2011).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing