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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Graphene's new layered look

MIT News
June 28, 2011

Graphene, a form of pure carbon arranged in a lattice just one atom thick, has interested countless researchers with its unique strength and its electrical and thermal conductivity. But one key property it lacks which would make it suitable for a plethora of new uses is the ability to form a band gap, needed for devices such as transistors, computer chips and solar cells.

Now, a team of MIT scientists has found a way to produce graphene in significant quantities in a two- or three-layer form. When the layers are arranged just right, these structures give graphene the much-desired band gap — an energy range that falls between the bands, or energy levels, where electrons can exist in a given material.

“It’s a breakthrough in graphene technology,” says Michael Strano, the Charles and Hilda Roddey Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT. The new work is described in a paper published this week in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, co-authored by graduate student Chih-Jen Shih, Professor of Chemical Engineering Daniel Blankschtein, Strano and 10 other students and postdocs.


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