Researchers at the University of Tokyo, in collaboration with the University of California at Berkeley, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Harvard University, Konkuk University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, have successfully produced graphene nanoribbons in a unique method that utilizes the phenomenon that inorganic nanomaterials self-assemble into regular structures on graphene.
The scientists found that gold cyanide nanowires grow directly on pristine graphene in aqueous solution at room temperature. They also noticed that the molecules aligned themselves with the zigzag lattice directions of the graphene. The researchers proceeded to fabricate graphene nanoribbons with zigzag-edged directions by employing the synthesized nanowires as an etching mask. The graphene nanoribbons created were 10 nm in width. Both the nanowires and graphene nanoribbons formed along the zigzag lattice, offering a potential method for controlling the formation direction of graphene nanoribbons, something that had not been achieved thus far.