Washington, Jan 22 (ANI): An Indian-origin researcher has developed a new method for controlling the conductive nature of graphene, which could pave the way for techniques for mass production of graphene-based nanoelectronics.
Graphene, a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon, is considered a potential heir to copper and silicon as the fundamental building blocks of nanoelectronics.
With help from an underlying substrate, researchers for the first time have demonstrated the ability to control the nature of graphene.
Saroj Nayak, an associate professor in Rensselaer's Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and colleagues have determined that the chemistry of the surface on which graphene is deposited plays a key role in shaping the material's conductive properties.
The results are based on large-scale quantum mechanical simulations.
According to the results, when deposited on a surface treated with oxygen, graphene exhibits semiconductor properties, while on being deposited on a material treated with hydrogen, however, graphene exhibits metallic properties.
"Depending on the chemistry of the surface, we can control the nature of the graphene to be metallic or semiconductor. Essentially, we are 'tuning' the electrical properties of material to suit our needs," said Nayak.
Earlier, whenever a batch of graphene nanostructures is produced, some of the graphene is metallic, while the rest is semiconductor.
Nayak said that it would be nearly impossible to separate the two on a large scale, yet realizing new graphene devices would require that they be comprised solely of metallic or semiconductor graphene.
He said that the new method for "tuning" the nature of graphene is a key step to making this possible.
Graphene's excellent conductive properties make it attractive to researchers.
Results of the study were published in the paper "Electronic structure and band-gap modulation of graphene via substrate surface chemistry" in Applied Physics Letters. (ANI)