Synopsis: Graphene’s prisoners

Controlling defects on graphene that trap migrating metal atoms may lead to superior device fabrication.
Synopsis figure
Credit: O. Cretu et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. (2010).

Like semiconductor alloys that are amenable to band-gap engineering, graphene is more customizable from a technological perspective when slightly contaminated with defects and disorder. In its pure form, graphene’s energy spectrum does not have the band gap needed to control the transport characteristics of a device. Controlled addition of defects can change the properties of graphene to allow for new applications.

Writing in Physical Review Letters, Ovidiu Cretu and co-workers at the University of Strasbourg, France, together with collaborators at the Universities of Helsinki and Aalto, both in Finland, produce defects on a graphene surface by electron irradiation and subsequent annealing. Then, using transmission electron microscopy and density-functional calculations, they show that tungsten atoms, evaporated onto the surface from a heated filament, become trapped and localized by strain fields around the defects. The tungsten atoms can be made to migrate to less pristine regions of the hexagonal graphene lattice. These migrating metal atoms may enable more controlled engineering of electronic and magnetic structure of graphene than that offered by substitutional doping. – Sami Mitra


More Announcements »

Subject Areas

NanophysicsGrapheneMaterials Science

Previous Synopsis

Next Synopsis

Interdisciplinary Physics

The topology of trade

Read More »

Related Articles

Synopsis: Electron–Phonon Affair Comes to Light
Condensed Matter Physics

Synopsis: Electron–Phonon Affair Comes to Light

Photoelectron spectroscopy reveals the details of the interaction between electronic and vibrational excitations in a molecular material. Read More »

Synopsis: Topological Origami
Materials Science

Synopsis: Topological Origami

Origami formed by folding and cutting a material can feature well-defined, tunable mechanical properties. Read More »

Synopsis: Whisky-Inspired Coatings
Fluid Dynamics

Synopsis: Whisky-Inspired Coatings

As a whisky drop dries, a combination of molecules in the liquid ensure a spatially uniform deposition—a finding that could inspire coating technologies. Read More »

More Articles