Scientists finally discover edge states of graphene nanoribbons
Washington, May 9 (ANI): More than 20 years ago, experts predicted that a number of interesting effects would take place at the edge of graphene nanoribbons, but there was no way for those predictions to be tested.
But now, physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), and their colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, and other institutions, have made the first precise measurements of the "edge states" of well-ordered nanoribbons.
A graphene nanoribbon is a strip of graphene that may be only a few nanometers wide (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter).
Theorists have envisioned that nanoribbons, depending on their width and the angle at which they are cut, would have unique electronic, magnetic, and optical features, including band gaps like those in semiconductors, which sheet graphene doesn't have.
"Until now no one has been able to test theoretical predictions regarding nanoribbon edge-states, because no one could figure out how to see the atomic-scale structure at the edge of a well-ordered graphene nanoribbon and how, at the same time, to measure its electronic properties within nanometers of the edge," said Michael Crommie of Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division (MSD) and UC Berkeley's Physics Division, who led the research.
"We were able to achieve this by studying specially made nanoribbons with a scanning tunneling microscope."
The team's research not only confirms theoretical predictions but opens the prospect of building quick-acting, energy-efficient nanoscale devices from graphene-nanoribbon switches, spin-valves, and detectors, based on either electron charge or electron spin. Farther down the road, graphene nanoribbon edge states open the possibility of devices with tunable giant magnetoresistance and other magnetic and optical effects.
The study has been detailed in the journal Nature. (ANI)
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