Since its discovery, graphenean unusual and versatile substance composed of a single-layer crystal lattice of carbon atomshas caused much excitement in the scientific community. Now, Nongjian(NJ) Tao, a researcher at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University has hit on a new way of making graphene, maximizing the material's enormous potential, particularly for use in high-speed electronic devices.
Along with collaborators from Germany's Max Planck Institute, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Utah, and Tsinghua University, Beijing, Tao created a graphene transistor composed of 13 benzene rings.
The molecule, known as a coronene, shows an improved electronic band gap, a property which may help to overcome one of the central obstacles to applying graphene technology for electronics. The group's work appears in the June 29 advanced online issue of Nature Communications.
Eventually, graphene components may find their way into a broad array of products, from lasers to ultra-fast computer chips; ultracapacitors with unprecedented storage capabilities; tools for microbial detection and diagnosis; photovoltaic cells; quantum computing applications and many others.
As the name suggests, graphene is closely related to graphite. Each time a pencil is drawn across a page, tiny fragments of graphene are shed. When properly magnified, the substance resembles an atomic-scale chicken wire. Sheets of the material possess exceptional electronic and optical properties, making it highly attractive for varied applications.
"Graphene is an amazing material, made of carbon atoms connected in a honeycomb structure," Tao says, pointing to graphene's huge electrical mobilitythe ease with which electrons can flow through the material. Such high mobility is a critical parameter in determining the speed of components like transistors.
Producing usable amounts of graphene however,
|Contact: Richard Harth|
Arizona State University