Nano Bugle

A window into applied science supported by INL

Scientists Strive to Replace Silicon with Graphene on Nanocircuity

In a technique known as thermochemical nanolithography, the tip of an atomic force microscope uses heat to turn graphene oxide into reduced graphene oxide, a substance that can be used to produce nanocircuits and nanowires with controllable conductivity.

Credit: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

 

 

 

 

 

Scientists have made a breakthrough toward creating nanocircuitry on graphene, widely regarded as the most promising candidate to replace silicon as the building block of transistors. They have devised a simple and quick one-step process based on thermochemical nanolithography (TCNL) for creating nanowires, tuning the electronic properties of reduced graphene oxide on the nanoscale and thereby allowing it to switch from being an insulating material to a conducting material.

The technique works with multiple forms of graphene and is poised to become an important finding for the development of graphene electronics. The research appears in the June 11, 2010, issue of the journal Science.

Scientists who work with nanocircuits are enthusiastic about graphene because electrons meet with less resistance when they travel along graphene compared to silicon and because today’s silicon transistors are nearly as small as allowed by the laws of physics. Graphene also has the edge due to its thickness – it’s a carbon sheet that is a single atom thick. While graphene nanoelectronics could be faster and consume less power than silicon, no one knew how to produce graphene nanostructures on such a reproducible or scalable method. That is until now.

“We’ve shown that by locally heating insulating graphene oxide, both the flakes and epitaxial varieties, with an atomic force microscope tip, we can write nanowires with dimensions down to 12 nanometers. And we can tune their electronic properties to be up to four orders of magnitude more conductive. We’ve seen no sign of tip wear or sample tearing,” said Elisa Riedo, associate professor in the School of Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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“This project is an excellent example of the new technologies that epitaxial graphene electronics enables,” said Walt de Heer, Regent’s Professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Physics and the original proponent of epitaxial graphene in electronics. His study led to the establishment of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center two years ago. “The simple conversion from graphene oxide to graphene is an important and fast method to produce conducting wires. This method can be used not only for flexible electronics, but it is possible, sometime in the future, that the bio-compatible graphene wires can be used to measure electrical signals from single biological cells.”

 The research is a collaboration among the Georgia Tech, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Other members of the research team include: Zhongqing Wei, Debin. Wang, Suenne Kim, Soo-Young Kim, Yike Hu, Michael K. Yakes, Arnaldo R.Laracuente, Zhenting Dai, Seth R. Marder, Claire Berger, and Walter A. de Heer.

Author Georgia Tech

You can read the full article here.

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June 17, 2010 - Posted by | Nano News

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