Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Method Offers Control of Strain on Graphene Membranes

04.04.2012
First controllable use of scanning tunneling microscopy on freestanding graphene

Graphene could be the superhero of materials – it’s light, strong and conducts heat and electricity effectively, which makes it a great material for potential use in all kinds of electronics. And because it’s made from carbon atoms, graphene is cheap and plentiful. Its electric and mechanical properties also affect one another in unique ways. But before freestanding graphene can live up to its potential, scientists need to be able to control these properties.

A group of physicists from the University of Arkansas and other institutions have developed a technique that allows them to control the mechanical property, or strain, on freestanding graphene, sheets of carbon one-atom thick suspended over the tops of tiny squares of copper. By controlling the strain on freestanding graphene, they also can control other properties of this important material.

“If you subject graphene to strain, you change its electronic properties,” said physics professor Salvador Barraza-Lopez. Strain on freestanding graphene causes the material to behave as if it is in a magnetic field, even though no magnets are present, a property that scientists will want to exploit -- if they can control the mechanical strain.

To control the mechanical strain, University of Arkansas researchers developed a new experimental approach. Physicists Peng Xu, Paul Thibado and students in Thibado’s group examined freestanding graphene membranes stretched over thin square “crucibles,” or meshes, of copper. They performed scanning tunneling microscopy with a constant current to study the surface of the graphene membranes. This type of microscopy uses a small electron beam to create a contour map of the surface. To keep the current constant, researchers change the voltage as the scanning tunneling microscope tip moves up and down, and the researchers found that this causes the freestanding graphene membrane to change shape.

“The membrane is trying to touch the tip,” Barraza-Lopez said. They discovered that the electric charge between the tip and the membrane influences the position and shape of the membrane. So by changing the tip voltage, the scientists controlled the strain on the membrane. This control becomes important for controlling the pseudo-magnetic properties of graphene.

In conjunction with the experiments, Barraza-Lopez, Yurong Yang of the University of Arkansas and Nanjing University, and Laurent Bellaiche of the University of Arkansas examined theoretical systems involving graphene membranes to better understand this new-found ability to control the strain created by the new technique. They verified the amount of strain on these theoretical systems and simulated the location of the scanning tunneling microscopy tip in relation to the membrane. While doing so, they discovered that the interaction of the membrane and tip depends upon the tip’s location on the freestanding graphene. This allows scientists to calculate the pseudo-magnetic field for a given voltage and strain.

“If you know the strain, you can use theory and compute how big the pseudo-magnetic field may be,” said Barraza-Lopez. They found that because of the boundaries created by the square copper crucible, the pseudo-magnetic field swings back and forth between positive and negative values, so scientists are reporting the maximum value for the field instead of a constant value.

“If you were able to make the crucibles triangular, you would be closer to having non-oscillating fields,” Barraza-Lopez said. “This would bring us closer to using this pseudo-magnetic property of graphene membranes in a controlled way.”

The researchers report their findings in Physical Review B Rapid Communications.
Full details of this work are available online (PRB 85, 121406(R) (2012)). Scientists involved in the research are from the University of Arkansas, Nanjing University, École Centrale Paris, Quingdao University and Missouri State University.
CONTACTS:
Salvador Barraza-Lopez, physics
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-5933, sbarraza@uark.edu
Melissa Lutz Blouin, senior director of academic communications
University Relations
479-575-5555, blouin@uark.edu

Melissa Lutz Blouin | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.uark.edu

Further reports about: Membranes carbon atom graphene magnetic field method strain

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect
24.05.2017 | Vienna University of Technology

nachricht Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect
24.05.2017 | University of Cologne

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>