Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Single-Step Doping Process Developed for Graphene

A simple one-step process that produces both n-type and p-type doping of large-area graphene surfaces could facilitate use of the promising material for future electronic devices. The doping technique can also be used to increase conductivity in graphene nanoribbons used for interconnects.

By applying a commercially available spin-on-glass (SOG) material to graphene and then exposing it to electron-beam radiation, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology created both types of doping by simply varying the exposure time. Higher levels of e-beam energy produced p-type areas, while lower levels produced n-type areas.

The technique was used to fabricate high-resolution p-n junctions. When properly passivated, the doping created by the SOG is expected to remain indefinitely in the graphene sheets studied by the researchers.

“This is an enabling step toward making possible complementary metal oxide graphene transistors,” said Raghunath Murali, a senior research engineer in Georgia Tech’s Nanotechnology Research Center.

A paper describing the technique appears this week in the journal Applied Physics Letters. The research was supported by the Semiconductor Research Corporation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through the Interconnect Focus Center.

In the new doping process, Murali and graduate student Kevin Brenner begin by removing flakes of graphene one to four layers thick from a block of graphite. They place the material onto a surface of oxidized silicon, then fabricate a four-point contact device.

Next, they spin on films of hydrogen silsesquoxane (HSQ), then cure certain portions of the resulting thin film using electron beam radiation. The technique provides precise control over the amount of radiation and where it is applied to the graphene, with higher levels of energy corresponding to more cross-linking of the HSQ.

“We gave varying doses of electron-beam radiation and then studied how it influenced the properties of carriers in the graphene lattice,” Murali said. “The e-beam gave us a fine range of control that could be valuable for fabricating nanoscale devices. We can use an electron beam with a diameter of four or five nanometers that allows very precise doping patterns.”

Electronic measurements showed that a graphene p-n junction created by the new technique had large energy separations, indicating strong doping effects, he added.

Researchers elsewhere have demonstrated graphene doping using a variety of processes including soaking the material in various solutions and exposing it to a variety of gases. The Georgia Tech process is believed to be the first to provide both electron and hole doping from a single dopant material.

Doping processes used for graphene are likely to be significantly different from those established for silicon use, Murali said. In silicon, the doping step substitutes atoms of a different material for silicon atoms in the material’s lattice.

In the new single-step process for graphene, the doping is believed to introduce atoms of hydrogen and oxygen in the vicinity of the carbon lattice. The oxygen and hydrogen don’t replace carbon atoms, but instead occupy locations atop the lattice structure.

“Energy applied to the SOG breaks chemical bonds and releases hydrogen and oxygen which bond with the carbon lattice,” Murali said. “A high e-beam energy converts the whole SOG structure to more of a network, and then you have more oxygen than hydrogen, resulting in a p-type doping.”

In volume manufacturing, the electron beam radiation would likely be replaced by a conventional lithography process, Murali said. Varying the reflectance or transmission of the mask set would control the amount of radiation reaching the SOG, and that would determine whether n-type or p-type areas are created.

“Making everything in a single step would avoid some of the expensive lithography steps,” he said. “Gray-scale lithography would allow fine control of doping across the entire surface of the wafer.”

For doping bulk areas such as interconnects that do not require patterning, the researchers simply coat the area with HSQ and expose it to a plasma source. The technique can make the nanoribbons up to 10 times more conductive than untreated graphene.

Because HSQ is already familiar to the microelectronics industry, the one-step approach to doping could help integrate graphene into existing processes, avoiding a disruption of the massive semiconductor design and fabrication system, Murali noted.

Over the past two years, researchers in the Nanotechnology Research Center had observed changes caused by application of HSQ during electrical testing. Only recently did they take a closer look at what was happening to understand how to take advantage of the phenomenon.

For the future, they’d like to better understand how the process works and whether other polymers might provide better results.

“We need to have a better understanding of how to control this process because variability is one of the issues that must be controlled to make manufacturing feasible,” Murali explained. “We are trying to identify other polymers that may provide better control or stronger doping levels.”

John Toon | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons
20.03.2018 | ITMO University

nachricht Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions
20.03.2018 | University of California - Berkeley

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: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>