Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology managed to create an substantial electronic bandgap in graphene nanoribbons - by coating bi-layer graphene on silicon carbide nanometer-scale steps. This could lead the way towards graphene based electronics.
The 1.4-nanometer ribbons created a bandgap of about 0.5 electron-volts. The researchers do not yet understand why the bent graphene creates the bandgap.
To produce this new structure, the researchers first use e-beams to create the silicon carbide steps. Graphene ribbons are then grown on the steps in a high-temperature furnace - and this must be carefully controlled as too much graphene will ruin the formation. They say that in this method they can create thousands of trenches on a silicon-carbinde wafer. The material on the bends is semiconducting, and as it is attached to graphene continuously on both sides, it's basically a Shottky barrier junction.