Graphene can be tuned to behave as both an insulator and a superconductor

Researchers at MIT and Harvard University have found that graphene can be tuned to behave at two electrical extremes: as an insulator, in which electrons are completely blocked from flowing; and as a superconductor, in which electrical current can stream through without resistance.

MIT and Harvard team create graphene ''superlattice'' that can be superconductive and insulating image

Researchers in the past, including this team, have been able to synthesize graphene superconductors by placing the material in contact with other superconducting metals — an arrangement that allows graphene to inherit some superconducting behaviors. In this new work, the team found a way to make graphene superconduct on its own, demonstrating that superconductivity can be an intrinsic quality in the purely carbon-based material.

Graphene on hBN transistor displays remarkable cooling properties

Researchers from the Pierre Aigrain Laboratory in the ENS Physics department in Paris, France, have discovered a new cooling mechanism for electronic components made of graphene deposited on boron nitride. The efficiency of this mechanism reportedly allowed the team to reach electric intensities at the intrinsic limit of the laws of conduction.

ENS graphene transistor results imageCurrent-voltage (left) and temperature-voltage (right) characteristics of a graphene on boron nitride transistor. The transistor effect is visible by modulation of the current as a function of the gate voltage in the Zener-Klein tunnel transport regime.

Heat dissipation is vital in order to prevent deterioration or destruction of electronic components. The laws of physics dictate that increasing the density of components on a chipset implies increasing dissipation and thus heat. Nowadays, with the advances in 2D material devices, this question becomes particularly critical since components are required to be one atom thick. By producing a graphene-based transistor deposited on a boron nitride substrate, the team demonstrated a new cooling mechanism 10 times more efficient than basic heat diffusion. This new mechanism, which exploits the two-dimensional nature of the materials opens a "thermal bridge" between the graphene sheet and the substrate.

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.

Versarien - Think you know graphene? Think again!Versarien - Think you know graphene? Think again!