Researchers from Harvard University, FEI Corporation and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, in collaboration with Graphenea, invented a new atomic “chisel” made from a single silicon atom that can be used to make pores or nanostructures in graphene. This can be used to create clear edges for nanoribbons, open nanopres for DNA sequencing and fabricate a host of nanostructures for use in future molecular electronics devices and make nanopores for DNA sequencing applications.

The atomic "chisel" is made from a silicon atom and is controlled by a high-energy beam in a transmission electron microscope. This produces a catalytic wedge. The kinetic energy from the electron beam helps to selectively chip off carbon atoms from the graphene lattice one by one so we obtain nice clean holes or edges in the carbon material.