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
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Georgia Institute of Technology Research News