Scientists from CiQUS, ICN2, University of Cantabria, Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC), and Technical University of Denmark (DTU) have joined forces to develop a versatile method for building brick by brick carbon nanocircuits with tunable properties. The team sees this as a significant breakthrough in the precise engineering of 2D materials. The proposed fabrication technique opens exciting new possibilities for materials science, and, in particular, for application in advanced electronics and future solutions for sustainable energy.
The team synthesized a new nanoporous graphene structure by connecting ultra-narrow graphene strips, known as “nanoribbons”, by means of flexible “bridges” made of phenylene moieties (which are portions of larger molecules). By modifying in a continuous way the architecture and angle of these bridges, the scientists can control the quantum connectivity between the nanoribbon channels and, ultimately, fine-tune the electronic properties of the graphene nanoarchitecture. The tunability could also be controlled by external stimuli, such as strain or electric fields, providing opportunities for different applications.
The findings show that the proposed molecular bridge strategy can have a great impact on the synthesis of new materials with tailored properties and is a powerful tool for the realization of quantum circuits. These perform operations similar to those of conventional circuits, although unlike the latter, quantum circuits leverage quantum effects and phenomena. The design and implementation of these systems are relevant to the development of quantum computers.
In fact, the potential applications of the approach proposed in this study go beyond future electronic devices and computers. In fact, it could also lead to the development of thermoelectric nanomaterials, which can have an important impact in renewable energy generation and waste heat recovery, therefore addressing another crucial societal challenge.