Navigation Links
Templated growth technique produces graphene nanoribbons with metallic properties

A new "templated growth" technique for fabricating nanoribbons of epitaxial graphene has produced structures just 15 to 40 nanometers wide that conduct current with almost no resistance. These structures could address the challenge of connecting graphene devices made with conventional architectures and set the stage for a new generation of devices that take advantage of the quantum properties of electrons.

"We can now make very narrow, conductive nanoribbons that have quantum ballistic properties," said Walt de Heer, a professor in the School of Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "These narrow ribbons become almost like a perfect metal. Electrons can move through them without scattering, just like they do in carbon nanotubes."

De Heer was scheduled to discuss recent results of this graphene growth process March 21st at the American Physical Society's March 2011 Meeting in Dallas. The research was sponsored by the National Science Foundation-supported Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC).

First reported Oct. 3 in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the new fabrication technique allows production of epitaxial graphene structures with smooth edges. Earlier fabrication techniques that used electron beams to cut graphene sheets produced nanoribbon structures with rough edges that scattered electrons, causing interference. The resulting nanoribbons had properties more like insulators than conductors.

"In our templated growth approach, we have essentially eliminated the edges that take away from the desirable properties of graphene," de Heer explained. "The edges of the epitaxial graphene merge into the silicon carbide, producing properties that are really quite interesting."

The "templated growth" technique begins with etching patterns into the silicon carbide surfaces on which epitaxial graphene is grown. The patterns serve as templates directing the growth of graphene structures, allowing the formation of nanoribbons and other structures of specific widths and shapes without the use of cutting techniques that produce the rough edges.

In creating these graphene nanostructures, de Heer and his research team first use conventional microelectronics techniques to etch tiny "steps" or contours into a silicon carbide wafer whose surface has been made extremely flat. They then heat the contoured wafer to approximately 1,500 degrees Celsius, which initiates melting that polishes any rough edges left by the etching process.

Established techniques are then used for growing graphene from silicon carbide by driving off the silicon atoms from the surface. Instead of producing a consistent layer of graphene across the entire surface of the wafer, however, the researchers limit the heating time so that graphene grows only on portions of the contours.

The width of the resulting nanoribbons is proportional to the depth of the contours, providing a mechanism for precisely controlling the nanoribbon structures. To form complex structures, multiple etching steps can be carried out to create complex templates.

"This technique allows us to avoid the complicated e-beam lithography steps that people have been using to create structures in epitaxial graphene," de Heer noted. "We are seeing very good properties that show these structures can be used for real electronic applications."

Since publication of the Nature Nanotechnology paper, de Heer's team has been refining its technique. "We have taken this to an extreme the cleanest and narrowest ribbons we can make," he said. "We expect to be able to do everything we need with the size ribbons that we are able to make right now, though we probably could reduce the width to 10 nanometers or less."

While the Georgia Tech team is continuing to develop high-frequency transistors perhaps even at the terahertz range its primary effort now focuses on developing quantum devices, de Heer said. Such devices were envisioned in the patents Georgia Tech holds on various epitaxial graphene processes.

"This means that the way we will be doing graphene electronics will be different," he explained. "We will not be following the model of using standard field-effect transistors (FETs), but will pursue devices that use ballistic conductors and quantum interference. We are headed straight into using the electron wave effects in graphene."

Taking advantage of the wave properties will allow electrons to be manipulated with techniques similar to those used by optical engineers. For instance, switching may be carried out using interference effects separating beams of electrons and then recombining them in opposite phases to extinguish the signals.

Quantum devices would be smaller than conventional transistors and operate at lower power. Because of its ability to transport electrons with virtually no resistance, epitaxial graphene may be the ideal material for such devices, de Heer said.

"Using the quantum properties of electrons rather than the standard charged-particle properties means opening up new ways of looking at electronics," he predicted. "This is probably the way that electronics will evolve, and it appears that graphene is the ideal material for making this transition."

De Heer's research team hopes to demonstrate a rudimentary switch operating on the quantum interference principle within a year.

Epitaxial graphene may be the basis for a new generation of high-performance devices that will take advantage of the material's unique properties in applications where higher costs can be justified. Silicon, today's electronic material of choice, will continue to be used in applications where high-performance is not required, de Heer said.

"This is an important step in the process," he added. "There are going to be a lot of surprises as we move into these quantum devices and find out how they work. We have good reason to believe that this can be the basis for a new generation of transistors based on quantum interference."


Contact: John Toon
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News

Related biology technology :

1. Newly Updated for 2011: Medical Science Liaison Study Shows Growth in KOL Outreach, Impact
2. Global Growth Factors ( Blood And Tissue ) Industry
3. TPI Attends 23rd ROTH Annual OC Growth Stock Conference from March 13-16, 2011
4. Palatin Technologies, Inc. to Present at the ROTH 23rd Annual OC Growth Stock Conference
5. Leading Animal Stem Cell Developer MediVet-America Achieves Significant Business Growth Milestones in First Year
6. Californias Biomedical Industry is Poised for Growth Despite Increasing Global Competition, According to the 2011 California Biomedical Industry Report
7. Reportlinker Adds Biochips - Products, Applications, Technologies and End-Use Markets Growth Analysis, 2009-2015
8. Investigational Compound Offers Novel Anti-IGF Approach To Inhibit Growth of Cancer Cells
9. PharmAthene Strengthens Scientific Leadership and Program Management for Future Growth
10. MiMedx Group, Inc. to Present at the 13th Annual Needham Growth Conference
11. Resonetics Growth Leads to New Facility
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Templated growth technique produces graphene nanoribbons with metallic properties
(Date:11/26/2015)... CHESHAM , England , November 26, ... Lightpoint Medical, an innovative medical device company specializing in ... Euro grant from the European Commission as part of the ... enabling the company to carry out a large-scale clinical trial ... -->      (Logo: , ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015  PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE MKT: PIP) announced ... stockholder rights plan (Rights Plan) in an effort to ... (NOLs) under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code ... PharmAthene,s use of its NOLs could be substantially limited ... in Section 382 of the Code. In general, an ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 Studies ... and human plaque and pave the way for more effective ... in cats     --> ... commonly diagnosed health problems in cats, yet relatively little was ... Two collaborative studies have been conducted by researchers from the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... President and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, will be presenting ... New York . ... website approximately 5 minutes prior to the presentation to ... the presentation will be available on the website approximately ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/4/2015)... 4, 2015 --> ... published by Transparency Market Research "Home Security Solutions Market - ... 2015 - 2022", the global home security solutions market is expected ... 2022. The market is estimated to expand at a ... to 2022. Rising security needs among customers at homes, ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015 Daon, a global leader in mobile ... a new version of its IdentityX Platform , ... America have already installed IdentityX v4.0 and ... FIDO UAF certified server component as an ... FIDO features. These customers include some of the largest ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015 Today, ... announced a partnership with 2XU, a global leader ... deliver a smart hat with advanced bio-sensing technology. ... other athletes to monitor key biometrics to improve ... strategic partnership, the two companies will bring together the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):