As new materials go, graphene has generated enormous interest. The arXiv currently holds over 1000 papers with “graphene” appearing in the title. (See the graphic.)
Of these, 32 titles also contain the word “device”, while only three are concerned with patterning.
Interestingly, there are 14 publications at JVST B, of which three are concerned with patterning. I suppose we should conclude that, while this material is popular in the physics research community (due, no doubt, to its exotic properties [see also here]), it is still insufficiently understood and too difficult to manage in order to support more than preliminary attempts at making electronic devices.
IBM’s recent announcement notwithstanding, early applications of graphene may well be in bulk film applications such as photovoltaic contact layers. Even this may be a long road. Consider, pure graphene is a two-dimensional material. Being only one atom thick, it is exquisitely sensitive to surface contamination. In fact, most attempted applications use bilayer graphene, to decouple somewhat from the underlying substrate. Might it be that any “sandwich” application (like contact layers) would be forced to use a trilayer?
There are limits to going thicker of course. Graphene’s special properties disappear as the layer count increases. By 10 layers, we effectively have graphite, a rather uninteresting material for electronics.