No disruption to connected graphene nanoribbons, says research team

The manufacture of high performance low power electronics devices based on graphene nanoribbons is likely to be possible, according to an international research team based at Tohoku University’s Advanced Institute of Materials Research.

In its work, the team used molecular assemble to connect chiral edge graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) with zigzag edges and demonstrated electronic connection between the GNRs. The team added its work showed the electronic architecture at the interconnection points between two GNRs is the same as that along single GNRs.

“Current molecular assemblies either produce straight GNRs (without identifiable interconnection points) or randomly interconnected GNRs,” said Dr Patrick Han, the project leader. “These growth modes have too many intrinsic unknowns for determining whether electrons travel across graphene interconnection points smoothly. The key is to design a molecular assembly that produces GNRs that are systematically interconnected with clearly distinguishable interconnection points.”

The team grew GNRs on a copper substrate, which confined GNR growth to six directions. It then visualised the structures using scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM). By controlling the precursor molecular coverage, GNRs from different growth directions were connected, producing elbow structures.

“The major finding of this work is that interconnected GNRs do not show electronic disruption,” said Dr Han. “These results show that finding a way to connect defect free GNRs to desired electrodes may be the key strategy toward achieving high performance, low power consumption electronics.”