An international research team, led by the University of Cologne, has succeeded in connecting several atomically precise graphene nanoribbons to form complex structures. The scientists have synthesized and spectroscopically characterized nanoribbon heterojunctions, and were able to integrate the heterojunctions into an electronic component. In this way, they have created a novel sensor that is highly sensitive to atoms and molecules.
"The graphene nanoribbon heterojunctions used to make the sensor are each seven and fourteen carbon atoms wide and about 50 nanometres long. What makes them special is that their edges are free of defects. This is why they are called "atomically precise" nanoribbons," explained Dr. Boris Senkovskiy from the Institute for Experimental Physics. The researchers connected several of these nanoribbon heterojunctions at their short ends, thus creating more complex heterostructures that act as tunneling barriers.