Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UCR scientists manipulate ripples in graphene, enabling strain-based graphene electronics

28.07.2009
Study is first to experimentally quantify thermal contraction of graphene

Graphene is nature's thinnest elastic material and displays exceptional mechanical and electronic properties. Its one-atom thickness, planar geometry, high current-carrying capacity and thermal conductivity make it ideally suited for further miniaturizing electronics through ultra-small devices and components for semiconductor circuits and computers.

But one of graphene's intrinsic features is ripples, similar to those seen on plastic wrap tightly pulled over a clamped edge. Induced by pre-existing strains in graphene, these ripples can strongly affect graphene's electronic properties, and not always favorably.

If the ripples can be controlled, however, they can be used to advantage in nanoscale devices and electronics, opening up a new arena in graphene engineering: strain-based devices.

UC Riverside's Chun Ning (Jeanie) Lau and colleagues now report the first direct observation and controlled creation of one- and two-dimensional ripples in graphene sheets. Using simple thermal manipulation, the researchers produced the ripples, and controlled their orientation, wavelength and amplitude.

"When the graphene sheets are stretched across a pair of parallel trenches, they spontaneously form nearly periodic ripples," Lau explained. "When these sheets are heated up, they actually contract, so the ripples disappear. When they are cooled down to room temperature, the ripples re-appear, with ridges at right angle to the edges of the trenches. This phenomenon is similar to what happens to a piece of thin plastic wrap that covers a container and heated in a microwave oven."

The unusual thermal contraction of graphene had been predicted theoretically, but Lau's lab is the first to demonstrate and quantify the phenomenon experimentally.

Study results appear July 26 in the advance online publication of Nature Nanotechnology.

Because graphene is both an excellent conductor and the thinnest elastic membrane, the ripples could have profound implications for graphene-based electronics.

"This is because graphene's ability to conduct electricity is expected to vary with the local shape of the membrane," Lau said. "For instance, the ripples may produce effective magnetic fields that can be used to steer and manipulate electrons in a nanoscale device without an external magnet."

Lau, an associate professor of physics and a member of UCR's Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering, and her colleagues examined the ripples' morphology using a scanning electron microscope and an atomic force microscope. They found that almost all the graphene membranes underwent dramatic morphological changes when heated, displaying significant alterations in the ripple geometry, a buckling of the graphene membrane, or both.

Their experimental system, which involved a stage inside a scanning electron microscope (SEM) with a built-in heater, thermometer and several electrical feed-throughs, enabled them to image graphene while it was being heated and explore the interplay between graphene's mechanical, thermal and electrical properties.

"Our result has important implications for controlling thermally induced stress in graphene electronics," Lau said. "Our ability to control and manipulate the ripples in graphene sheets represents the first step towards strain-based graphene engineering. We show that suspended graphene is almost invariably rippled, and this may need to be considered in the interpretation of a broad array of existing and future research."

Proposed to supplement or replace silicon as the main electronic material, graphene is a single layer of graphite. Even though graphite has been studied for decades, the single sheet first was isolated experimentally only in 2004. Graphene's structure is a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice of carbon atoms. Structurally, it is related to carbon nanotubes (tiny hollow tubes formed by rolling up sheets of graphene) and buckyballs (hollow carbon molecules that form a closed cage).

Lau, who earlier this month was named one of the recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers for the 2008 competition, joined UCR in 2004. She was joined in the 18-month study by UCR's Wenzhong Bao (first author), Feng Miao, Zhen Chen, Hang Zhang, Wanyoung Jang and Chris Dames.

The research was supported in part by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research.

The University of California, Riverside is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment of about 17,000 is expected to grow to 21,000 students by 2020. The campus is planning a medical school and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Graduate Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion. To learn more, visit www.ucr.edu or call (951) UCR-NEWS.

Iqbal Pittalwala | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucr.edu

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht A big nano boost for solar cells
18.01.2017 | Kyoto University and Osaka Gas effort doubles current efficiencies

nachricht Multiregional brain on a chip
16.01.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

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: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>