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Graphene R&D pushes forward

Posted: 30 Aug 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:graphene? silicon? fabrication?

Graphene is expected to solve many problems in electronics as silicon design rules approach the atomic scale. Now, researchers have found that pure-carbon graphene devices perform better when they are made smaller. However, at the nanoscale level, features must have atomic accuracy. This means near perfect edges and monolayers.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory is creating a set of tools for fabricating perfect graphene sheets, including the recent finding that electron radiation prevents connections between monolayers.

Scientists used supercomputers to simulate the fabrication of graphene using quantum molecular dynamics. In the process, they claim to have uncovered a new method of fabricating perfect edges and monolayers in graphene.

Last year, a method called Joule heating was reported. This uses an electric current to trim graphene edges to perfection, albeit at the expense of creating structural loops that make connections between monolayers. Using quantum molecular dynamics in their supercomputer simulations, an intermediate step in the edge-formation process was discovered. The researchers harnessed that step to perfect the fabrication method.

The group now reports that using electron irradiation during the edge formation process prevents loops between layers from forming.

- R. Colin Johnson
EE Times

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