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UCR scientists manipulate ripples in graphene, enabling strain-based graphene electronics
Date:7/26/2009

ology.

Because graphene is both an excellent conductor and the thinnest elastic membrane, the ripples could have profound implications for graphene-based electronics.

"This is because graphene's ability to conduct electricity is expected to vary with the local shape of the membrane," Lau said. "For instance, the ripples may produce effective magnetic fields that can be used to steer and manipulate electrons in a nanoscale device without an external magnet."

Lau, an associate professor of physics and a member of UCR's Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering, and her colleagues examined the ripples' morphology using a scanning electron microscope and an atomic force microscope. They found that almost all the graphene membranes underwent dramatic morphological changes when heated, displaying significant alterations in the ripple geometry, a buckling of the graphene membrane, or both.

Their experimental system, which involved a stage inside a scanning electron microscope (SEM) with a built-in heater, thermometer and several electrical feed-throughs, enabled them to image graphene while it was being heated and explore the interplay between graphene's mechanical, thermal and electrical properties.

"Our result has important implications for controlling thermally induced stress in graphene electronics," Lau said. "Our ability to control and manipulate the ripples in graphene sheets represents the first step towards strain-based graphene engineering. We show that suspended graphene is almost invariably rippled, and this may need to be considered in the interpretation of a broad array of existing and future research."

Proposed to supplement or replace silicon as the main electronic material, graphene is a single layer of graphite. Even though graphite has been studied for decades, the single sheet first was isolated experi
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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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