Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > A step toward better electronics: Researchers develop new way to oxidize promising graphene

Abstract:
Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a new method for chemically altering graphene, a development that could be a step toward the creation of faster, thinner, flexible electronics.

A step toward better electronics: Researchers develop new way to oxidize promising graphene

Chicago, IL | Posted on February 19th, 2012

Highly desired for its many promising attributes, graphene is a one-atom thick, honeycomb-shaped lattice of carbon atoms with exceptional strength and conductivity. Among graphene's many possible applications is electronics: Many experts believe it could rival silicon, transforming integrated circuits and leading to ultra-fast computers, cellphones and related portable electronic devices.

But first, researchers must learn how to tune the electronic properties of graphene -- not an easy feat, given a major challenge intrinsic to the material. Unlike semiconductors such as silicon, pure graphene is a zero band-gap material, making it difficult to electrically "turn off" the flow of current through it. Therefore, pristine graphene is not appropriate for the digital circuitry that comprises the vast majority of integrated circuits.

To overcome this problem and make graphene more functional, researchers around the world are investigating methods for chemically altering the material. The most prevalent strategy is the "Hummers method," a process developed in the 1940s that oxidizes graphene, but that method relies upon harsh acids that irreversibly damage the fabric of the graphene lattice.

Researchers at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science have recently developed a new method to oxidize graphene without the collateral damage encountered in the Hummers method. Their oxidation process is also reversible, which enables further tunability over the resulting properties of their chemically modified graphene.

The paper, "Chemically Homogeneous and Thermally Reversible Oxidation of Epitaxial Graphene," will be published Feb. 19 in the journal Nature Chemistry.

"Performing chemical reactions on graphene is very difficult," said Mark C. Hersam, professor of materials science and engineering at the McCormick School. "Typically, researchers employ aggressive acidic conditions, such as those utilized in the Hummers method, that damage the lattice and result in a material that is difficult to control.

"In our method, however, the resulting graphene oxide is chemically homogeneous and reversible leading to well-controlled properties that can likely be exploited in high-performance applications," said Hersam, who is also a professor of chemistry and of medicine.

To create the graphene oxide, researchers leaked oxygen gas (O2) into an ultra-high vacuum chamber. Inside, a hot tungsten filament was heated to 1500 degrees Celsius, causing the oxygen molecules to dissociate into atomic oxygen. The highly reactive oxygen atoms then uniformly inserted into the graphene lattice.

The resulting material possesses a high degree of chemical homogeneity. Spectroscopic measurements show that the electronic properties of the graphene vary as a function of oxygen coverage, suggesting that this approach can tune the properties of graphene-based devices. "It's unclear if this work will impact real-world applications overnight," Hersam said. "But it appears to be a step in the right direction."

Next, researchers will explore other means of chemically modifying graphene to develop a wider variety of materials, much like scientists did for plastics in the last century.

"Maybe oxygen isn't enough," Hersam said. "Through chemical modification, the scientific community has developed a wide range of polymers, from hard plastics to nylon. We hope to realize the same degree of tunability for graphene."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Megan Fellman

847-491-3115

Copyright © Northwestern University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

2018 Kavli Prizes in Astrophysics, Nanoscience, and Neuroscience to be Announced Live on May 31: Live announcement at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters to be streamed live at World Science Festival Event May 24th, 2018

'Spooky action at a distance': Researchers develop module for quantum repeater May 23rd, 2018

Columbia Researchers Squeeze Light into Nanoscale Devices and Circuits: Team is first to directly image propagation and dynamics of graphene plasmons at very low temperatures; findings could impact optical communications and signal processing May 23rd, 2018

NIST Puts the Optical Microscope Under the Microscope to Achieve Atomic Accuracy May 22nd, 2018

Self-assembling 3D battery would charge in seconds May 22nd, 2018

Graphene/ Graphite

Columbia Researchers Squeeze Light into Nanoscale Devices and Circuits: Team is first to directly image propagation and dynamics of graphene plasmons at very low temperatures; findings could impact optical communications and signal processing May 23rd, 2018

Strain improves performance of atomically thin semiconductor material May 11th, 2018

Nanoscale measurements 100x more precise, thanks to improved two-photon technique May 8th, 2018

Hematene joins parade of new 2D materials: Rice University-led team extracts 3-atom-thick sheets from common iron oxide May 8th, 2018

Flexible Electronics

Strain improves performance of atomically thin semiconductor material May 11th, 2018

Chip Technology

Columbia Researchers Squeeze Light into Nanoscale Devices and Circuits: Team is first to directly image propagation and dynamics of graphene plasmons at very low temperatures; findings could impact optical communications and signal processing May 23rd, 2018

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat May 18th, 2018

Deeper understanding of quantum chaos may be the key to quantum computers May 16th, 2018

Strain improves performance of atomically thin semiconductor material May 11th, 2018

Nanoelectronics

Columbia Researchers Squeeze Light into Nanoscale Devices and Circuits: Team is first to directly image propagation and dynamics of graphene plasmons at very low temperatures; findings could impact optical communications and signal processing May 23rd, 2018

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat May 18th, 2018

Strain improves performance of atomically thin semiconductor material May 11th, 2018

Nanoscale measurements 100x more precise, thanks to improved two-photon technique May 8th, 2018

Discoveries

'Spooky action at a distance': Researchers develop module for quantum repeater May 23rd, 2018

Columbia Researchers Squeeze Light into Nanoscale Devices and Circuits: Team is first to directly image propagation and dynamics of graphene plasmons at very low temperatures; findings could impact optical communications and signal processing May 23rd, 2018

NIST Puts the Optical Microscope Under the Microscope to Achieve Atomic Accuracy May 22nd, 2018

Magnesium magnificent for plasmonic applications: Rice University, University of Cambridge synthesize and test nanoparticles of abundant material May 22nd, 2018

Materials/Metamaterials

Making carbon nanotubes as usable as common plastics: Researchers discover that cresols disperse carbon nanotubes at unprecedentedly high concentrations May 15th, 2018

Mining for gold with a computer: Texas A&M team gleans new insights on key material May 3rd, 2018

'Exceptional' research points way toward quantum discoveries: Rice University scientists make tunable light-matter couplings in nanotube films April 30th, 2018

The first PE blown films with nanotubes hit the Chinese market April 26th, 2018

Announcements

2018 Kavli Prizes in Astrophysics, Nanoscience, and Neuroscience to be Announced Live on May 31: Live announcement at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters to be streamed live at World Science Festival Event May 24th, 2018

'Spooky action at a distance': Researchers develop module for quantum repeater May 23rd, 2018

Columbia Researchers Squeeze Light into Nanoscale Devices and Circuits: Team is first to directly image propagation and dynamics of graphene plasmons at very low temperatures; findings could impact optical communications and signal processing May 23rd, 2018

Magnesium magnificent for plasmonic applications: Rice University, University of Cambridge synthesize and test nanoparticles of abundant material May 22nd, 2018

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project