Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A transistor of graphene nanoribbons

30.11.2017

Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."

Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the nanoelectronics of the future: While graphene - a one atom thin, honeycomb-shaped carbon layer - is a conductive material, it can become a semiconductor in the form of nanoribbons. This means that it has a sufficiently large energy or band gap in which no electron states can exist: it can be turned on and off - and thus may become a key component of nanotransistors.


The microscopic ribbons lie criss-crossed on the gold substrate.

Empa

The smallest details in the atomic structure of these graphene bands, however, have massive effects on the size of the energy gap and thus on how well-suited nanoribbons are as components of transistors. On the one hand, the gap depends on the width of the graphene ribbons, while on the other hand it depends on the structure of the edges.

Since graphene consists of equilateral carbon hexagons, the border may have a zigzag or a so-called armchair shape, depending on the orientation of the ribbons. While bands with a zigzag edge behave like metals, i.e. they are conductive, they become semiconductors with the armchair edge.

This poses a major challenge for the production of nanoribbons: If the ribbons are cut from a layer of graphene or made by cutting carbon nanotubes, the edges may be irregular and thus the graphene ribbons may not exhibit the desired electrical properties.

Creating a semiconductor with nine atoms

Empa researchers in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz and the University of California at Berkeley have now succeeded in growing ribbons exactly nine atoms wide with a regular armchair edge from precursor molecules.

The specially prepared molecules are evaporated in an ultra-high vacuum for this purpose. After several process steps, they are combined like puzzle pieces on a gold base to form the desired nanoribbons of about one nanometer in width and up to 50 nanometers in length.

These structures, which can only be seen with a scanning tunneling microscope, now have a relatively large and, above all, precisely defined energy gap. This enabled the researchers to go one step further and integrate the graphene ribbons into nanotransistors. Initially, however, the first attempts were not very successful: Measurements showed that the difference in the current flow between the "ON" state (i.e. with applied voltage) and the "OFF" state (without applied voltage) was far too small. The problem was the dielectric layer of silicon oxide, which connects the semiconducting layers to the electrical switch contact. In order to have the desired properties, it needed to be 50 nanometers thick, which in turn influenced the behavior of the electrons.

However, the researchers subsequently succeeded in massively reducing this layer by using hafnium oxide(HfO2) instead of silicon oxide as the dielectric material. The layer is therefore now only 1.5 nanometers thin and the “on”-current is orders of magnitudes higher.

Another problem was the incorporation of graphene ribbons into the transistor. In the future, the ribbons should no longer be located criss-cross on the transistor substrate, but rather aligned exactly along the transistor channel. This would significantly reduce the currently high level of non-functioning nanotransistors.

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.empa.ch/web/s604/nanoribbons

Rainer Klose | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Microwave-based test method can help keep 3-D chip designers' eyes open
29.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht SoCUS – New cost-effective sensor system to measure state of charge
28.11.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Silicatforschung ISC

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

Im Focus: A transistor of graphene nanoribbons

Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."

Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...

Im Focus: Quantum internet goes hybrid

In a recent study, published in Nature, ICFO researchers Nicolas Maring, Pau Farrera, Dr. Kutlu Kutluer, Dr. Margherita Mazzera, and Dr. Georg Heinze led by ICREA Prof. Hugues de Riedmatten, have achieved an elementary "hybrid" quantum network link and demonstrated for the first time photonic quantum communication between two very distinct quantum nodes placed in different laboratories, using a single photon as information carrier.

Today, quantum information networks are ramping up to become a disruptive technology that will provide radically new capabilities for information processing...

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

30.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Robust Bain distortion in the premartensite phase of a platinum-substituted Ni2MnGa

30.11.2017 | Life Sciences

Nature’s blueprint

30.11.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>