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New techniques produce cleanest graphene yet
Date:10/31/2013

l must be encapsulated in an insulator to protect it from the environment. Graphene lacks the ability to make out-of-plane bonds, which makes electrical contact through its surface difficult, but also prevents bonding to conventional 3D insulators such as oxides. Instead, the best results are obtained by using a 2D insulator, which does not need to make bonds at its surface. However, there has been no way to electrically access a fully-encapsulated graphene sheet until now."

In this work, says Cory Dean, who led the research as a postdoc at Columbia and is now an assistant professor at The City College of New York, the team solved both the contact and contamination problems at once. "One of the greatest assets of 2D materials such as graphene is that being only one atom thick, we have direct access to its electronic properties. At the same time, this can be one of its worst features since this makes the material extremely sensitive to its environment. Any external contamination quickly degrades performance. The need to protect graphene from unwanted disorder, while still allowing electrical access, has been the most significant roadblock preventing development of graphene-based technologies. By making contact only to the 1D edge of graphene, we have developed a fundamentally new way to bridge our 3D world to this fascinating 2D world, without disturbing its inherent properties. This virtually eliminates external contamination and finally allows graphene to show its true potential in electronic devices"

The researchers fully encapsulated the 2D graphene layer in a sandwich of thin insulating boron nitride crystals, employing a new technique in which crystal layers are stacked one-by-one. "Our approach for assembling these heterostructures completely eliminates any contamination between layers," Dean explains, "which we confirmed by cross-sectioning the devices and imaging them in a transmission electron microscope with atomic resolution."

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Contact: Holly Evarts
holly.evarts@columbia.edu
347-453-7408
Columbia University
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3 4

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