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


Features

More Features »

Announcements

More Announcements »

Subject Areas

NanophysicsGrapheneMaterials Science

Previous Synopsis

Next Synopsis

Interdisciplinary Physics

The topology of trade

Read More »

Related Articles

Synopsis: Quantum-Fluid Droplets Hold Bevy of Charge
Superfluidity

Synopsis: Quantum-Fluid Droplets Hold Bevy of Charge

Tiny droplets of superfluid helium can contain more than fifty charges, which could act as nucleation sites for growing nanostructures. Read More »

Synopsis: Discovering New Magnetic Materials with Machine Learning
Materials Science

Synopsis: Discovering New Magnetic Materials with Machine Learning

A new computing experiment suggests that machine-learning algorithms can accelerate the discovery and design of new magnetic materials. Read More »

Viewpoint: Graphene Is Thin, but Not Infinitely So
Condensed Matter Physics

Viewpoint: Graphene Is Thin, but Not Infinitely So

Atomically thin graphene is considered a prototypical 2D material, but high-pressure experiments now reveal the 3D nature of its mechanical properties. Read More »

More Articles