Last month we asked several graphene experts about their thoughts on the commercial potential of CVD as a graphene production process. This interesting discussion led to my talk with Jesus de la Fuente, Graphenea's Founder & CEO.
Graphenea is one of the world's leaders in CVD graphene, and Jesus kindly agreed to update us on his thoughts on CVD and the recent advances made at Graphenea.
Jesus feels that for the moment at least, CVD is the best technology for wafer scale high quality graphene for electronics applications (photo sensors, biosensors, diffusion barrier, interconnects layers, etc. ). Graphenea has a very efficient automated transfer process, and the company demonstrated very good in-wafer homogeneity and wafer to wafer reproducibility with a higher than 98% mono layer coverage.
Jesus says that Graphenea has demonstrated the cost competitiveness of CVD graphene - for large orders the company can offer CVD graphene cheaper than semiconductor grade silicon (0.35 $/ sq cm2). Graphenea offers 100 mm wafer and will soon (2017) offer 200 mm wafers too. The company already demonstrated graphene wafers up to 450 mm in size.
It is important to note that the graphene layer does not act as a semiconductor in the above mentioned devices. There are people working on future logic electronics using graphene but that is still far away. In these cases, the graphene layer enhanced the sensitivity of the sensors (photosensors and biosensors mainly). These sensors are closer to industrial scale than other much more complex devices. Most of these devices use both (Silicon and Graphene). The price comparison is just as a reference - the graphene won't be a substitution to silicon.
In the long run, Jesus expects CVD graphene prices to drop - and these may reach 0.01 $/sq cm2 or even lower. The challenges are to offer a CMOS fab compatible integration and increase the electron mobility. These are Graphenea's main focus areas in its product roadmap.
Disclaimer: Graphenea is a Graphene-Info sponsor