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Real-world graphene devices may have a bumpy ride
Date:1/20/2011

p>This effect is especially pronounced when the group exposes the substrate-mounted graphene to high magnetic fields. Then the electrons, already made sluggish by the substrate interactions, lack the energy to scale the mountains of resistance and settle into isolated pockets of "quantum dots," nanometer-scale regions that confine electrical charges in all directions.

It's not all bad news. Direct access to the graphene with a scanned probe also makes it possible to investigate the physics of other substrate interactions on a nanoscopic scale, something which is less possible in conventional semiconductor devices where the important transport layers are buried below the surface.

"Usually, we cannot study insulators at atomic scale," says Stroscio. "The STM works with a closed loop system that keeps a constant tunneling current by adjusting the tip-sample distance. On an insulator there is no current available, so the system will keep pushing the tip closer to the substrate until it eventually crashes into the surface. The graphene lets us get close enough to these substrate materials to study their electrical properties, but not so close that we damage the substrate and instrument."


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Contact: Mark Esser
mark.esser@nist.gov
301-975-8735
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Source:Eurekalert

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