Graphene has enormous potential for integrated devices, as it can enable the ultimate system miniaturization through the combination of many of its outstanding functionalities, from electronics to photonics, sensing and energy storage, all within a small and energy –efficient package. However, in order to realize this promise, first a graphene of acceptable quality needs to be synthesized consistently over large areas, preferably directly on a substrate like silicon, and with sufficient adhesion. Interestingly, despite extensive research efforts over the last decade, the direct synthesis of graphene on silicon has been lagging behind.

We have pioneered an avenue to fill this fundamental gap. As no novel methodologies come without complexities, we review the associated challenges and the broad perspectives.


Francesca Iacopi is Professor of Electronics in the Faculty of Engineering and IT, University of Technology Sydney. She received her MSc in Physics from the Universita La Sapienza, Rome, Italy (1996), and her PhD in E.E./Materials Science from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium (2004).

During her 20 years’ experience in semiconductor research and development across Industry and Academia, she authored over 120 peer-reviewed publications and holds 8 granted patents. She achieved international reputation for her contributions to the ITRS roadmap of materials and processes for advanced technologies across the area of devices, interconnects and packaging. In particular, her seminal work on low-k dielectrics for interconnects over the 1999-2010 decade has guided the industrial implementation of porous dielectrics into modern semiconductor chips. More recently, her invention of a process to obtain graphene directly patterned on silicon substrates led her to a Global Innovation Award in Washington DC, May 2014.

Other past recognitions include a Gold Graduate Student Award from the Materials Research Society (2003), and a Future Fellowship from the Australian Research Council (2012). She is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia.