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Intrinsic and extrinsic performance limits of graphene devices on SiO2


The linear dispersion relation in graphene1,2 gives rise to a surprising prediction: the resistivity due to isotropic scatterers, such as white-noise disorder3 or phonons4,5,6,7,8, is independent of carrier density, n. Here we show that electron–acoustic phonon scattering4,5,6 is indeed independent of n, and contributes only 30 Ω to graphene's room-temperature resistivity. At a technologically relevant carrier density of 1 ×1012 cm−2, we infer a mean free path for electron–acoustic phonon scattering of >2 µm and an intrinsic mobility limit of 2 × 105 cm2 V−1 s−1. If realized, this mobility would exceed that of InSb, the inorganic semiconductor with the highest known mobility (7.7 × 104 cm2 V−1 s−1; ref. 9) and that of semiconducting carbon nanotubes (1 × 105 cm2 V−1 s−1; ref. 10). A strongly temperature-dependent resistivity contribution is observed above 200 K (ref. 8); its magnitude, temperature dependence and carrier-density dependence are consistent with extrinsic scattering by surface phonons at the SiO2 substrate11,12 and limit the room-temperature mobility to 4 × 104 cm2 V−1 s−1, indicating the importance of substrate choice for graphene devices13.

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Figure 1: Temperature-dependent resistivity of graphene on SiO2.
Figure 2: Room-temperature performance limits of graphene on SiO2.
Figure 3: Temperature dependence of mobility in graphene and graphite.


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We acknowledge stimulating discussions with S. Das Sarma, E. Hwang, S. Adam, S. Fratini and E. D. Williams. We also thank E. D. Williams for use of UHV facilities. This work has been supported by the U.S. Office of Naval Research grant no. N000140610882 (CJ, SX, MSF), National Science Foundation grant no. CCF-06-34321 (MSF), and the NSF-UMD-MRSEC grant no. DMR 05-20471 (JHC). M.I. is supported by the Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellowship programme.

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M.S.F. and M.I. conceived the experiments, M.I. designed the experimental apparatus, J.H.C. performed the bulk of the experiments and data analysis, C.J. and S.X. fabricated devices and aided in the experiments, and M.S.F. and J.H.C. co-wrote the paper. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Michael S. Fuhrer.

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Chen, JH., Jang, C., Xiao, S. et al. Intrinsic and extrinsic performance limits of graphene devices on SiO2. Nature Nanotech 3, 206–209 (2008).

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