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 New Boost for ToCoTronics
23.05.2019 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht The geometry of an electron determined for the first time
23.05.2019 | Universität Basel

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: The geometry of an electron determined for the first time

Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.

The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

Im Focus: A step towards probabilistic computing

Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future

When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plumbene, graphene's latest cousin, realized on the 'nano water cube'

23.05.2019 | Materials Sciences

New flatland material: Physicists obtain quasi-2D gold

23.05.2019 | Materials Sciences

New Boost for ToCoTronics

23.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>