International team produces nano-transistors from carefully controlled GNRs

An international team of researchers from Empa, the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz and the University of California at Berkeley has succeeded in growing graphene ribbons exactly nine atoms wide with a regular armchair edge from precursor molecules. The specially prepared molecules are evaporated in an ultra-high vacuum for this purpose. After several process steps, they are put on a gold base to form the desired nanoribbons of about one nanometer in width and up to 50 nanometers in length.

Researchers create GNR-based transistors image

These structures have a relatively large and, most importantly, precisely defined energy gap. This enabled the researchers to go one step further and integrate the graphene ribbons into nanotransistors. Initially, however, the first attempts were not so successful: Measurements showed that the difference in the current flow between the "ON" state (i.e. with applied voltage) and the "OFF" state (without applied voltage) was far too small. The problem was the dielectric layer of silicon oxide, which connects the semiconducting layers to the electrical switch contact. In order to have the desired properties, it needed to be 50 nanometers thick, which in turn influenced the behavior of the electrons.

Graphene-TMDC combination could enable ultra-low power transistors and electrical spin control

Teams from the University of York and Roma Tre University state showed that ultra-low-power transistors could be built using composite materials based on single layers of graphene and transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDC). These materials, they note, could be used to achieve a sought-after electrical control over electron spin.

Graphene and TDMCs to enable efficient transistors image

The teams explained “we found this can be achieved with little effort when 2D graphene is paired with certain semiconducting layered materials. Our calculations show that the application of small voltages across the graphene layer induces a net polarization of conduction spins". The team showed that when a small current is passed through the graphene layer, the electrons’ spin polarize in plane due to ‘spin-orbital’ forces brought about by the proximity to the TMDC base. They also showed the efficiency of charge-to-spin conversion can be quite high, even at room temperature.

Cambridge University inkjet prints graphene-hBN FETs on textiles

Researchers from Cambridge University have demonstrated how graphene and other related 2D materials (namely hBN) can be directly printed onto textiles to create fully inkjet-printed dielectrically gated field effect transistors (FETs) with solution processed 2D materials.

Cambridge team prints graphene-hbn inks on textiles image

According to the team, these devices are washable, flexible, cheap, safe, comfortable to wear and environmentally-friendly, essential requirements for applications in wearable electronics. The team also demonstrated the first reprogrammable memories, inverters and logic gates with solution processed 2D materials by coupling these FETs together to create integrated circuits, the most fundamental components of a modern-day computer.

New graphene-based sensor provides real-time detection of contaminants in water

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will be presenting a graphene-based sensing platform for real-time, low-cost detection of various water contaminants at the AVS's 64th International Symposium & Exhibition, being held Oct. 29-Nov. 3, 2017, in Tampa, Florida. The new sensor detects heavy metals, bacteria, nitrates and phosphates.

The sensor works by placing graphene-based nanosheets that are semiconducting between an electrode gap. The electrical conductivity of the graphene material changes with the binding of substances, called analytes, to its surface and their chemical constituents are identified and measured. "The magnitude of the conductivity change can be correlated to the concentration of analyte, and the technology also involves the functionalization of the graphene material surface with specific probes that can target a specific analyte," said the researchers.

A graphene-based flexible terahertz detector developed by Chalmers team

Researchers at Chalmers University have developed a flexible detector for terahertz frequencies (1000 gigahertz) using graphene transistors on plastic substrates. It is said to be the first of its kind, and can extend the use of terahertz technology to applications that require flexible electronics, like wireless sensor networks and wearable technology.

A graphene-based flexible terahertz detector has been developed by researchers at Chalmers image

At room temperature, the translucent and flexible device detects signals in the frequency range 330 to 500 gigahertz. The technique can be used for imaging in the terahertz area (THz camera), but also for identifying different substances (sensor). It may also be of potential benefit in health care, where terahertz waves can be used to detect cancer. Other areas where the detector could be used are imaging sensors for vehicles or for wireless communications.